It looks like it is happening again: the roll back of transparency. As Vermont celebrates its move to strengthen their public records law, Illinois is instead finding ways to restrict freedom of information. Read details on the Sunlight foundation blog at:
bill that will delay FOIA requests and authorize a public body to
charge a records requester for the actual cost of retrieving and
transporting public records from an off-site storage facility, has been
passed by both the Senate and House in Illinois. Sponsored by Don Harmon
and Barbara Flynn Currie, HB 1716
will prioritize requests made by “infrequent requesters” while
deliberately delaying those made by “recurrent requesters”. Carl Skinner
wonders if this is Harmon’s idea of reform for the Freedom of
Information Act and points out that the bill was passed based on
suggestions made by government bodies instead of consulting the public.
He details who voted for and against it on McHenry County Blog
For a state that was once ranked 49th by the 2008 Better Government Association Integrity Index,
Vermont is set to turn a new transparency page. Gov. Peter Shumlin
yesterday signed a bill that will strengthen the state’s public records
law by requiring reimbursement of legal fees for citizens who
successfully challenge a denied request for documents. Authored by Rep.
Donna G. Sweaney, H 73
will establish a government transparency office to enforce the public
records act. Sheldon Toplitt adds that the new law will also create a
panel to review the over 200 exemptions currently existing. More on the Unruly of Law.
new group is improving local government transparency in Minnesota by
pushing for standardized financial reporting with details of the
state’s spending including public officials’ salaries and expenses. Open
is proposing a business-like approach “Object Code”, to provide access
to data that can be used to create an open public discussion. Read how
this will boost transparency in local government on Big Fat Finance Blog.
There is a new tool that is revolutionizing the way government functions and communicates with its citizens. Youtown
-- a mobile device that provides a two-way interaction between
citizens and their government -- is fast becoming a popular way of
making mobile local government easy. Created by DotGov,
a Seattle startup, the tool is now being used by several states
including Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Aislyn Greene writes that though
residents will use the tool for free, local governments will have to pay
to access feedback. See who else is using it on Venture Blog.