Transparency

States and Cities are Moving to Make Virtual Hearings Permanent

In the nation's statehouses and city halls, officials want remote meetings to outlast the Covid-19 crisis. Disability advocates are among those who support the idea. Others worry about the loss of in-person interactions and diminished oversight.

Mayor Snagged in WhatsApp Debate

Use of the encrypted messaging app by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration rekindles discussion over apps that allow officials to skirt the spirit, if not the letter, of open records laws.

Legislation Seeks to Block Secrecy With Economic Development Deals

Bills put forward in at least three states aim to ensure there's transparency around tax breaks and other incentives.

How One City is Working to Make Spending Data More Transparent

Efforts by Los Angeles' controller to open up city fiscal data took on an added dimension when Covid-19 hit.

Billions Are Coming From Washington. The Fraudsters and the Corrupt Are Drooling.

COMMENTARY | Local governments should recognize the potential threat of corrupt uses of federal stimulus money by public officials. There are some steps auditors and honest public leaders can take to prevent fraudulent activity.

A Transparent Look at How Governments Are Spending the $350B in ARPA Funds

On Aug. 31, states and large localities had to provide reports on how they are allocating their federal funds. They also have to post them on transparency websites, which can help them learn from one another and coordinate spending plans.

These Steps Can Help Build Trust in Vaccination Programs

COMMENTARY | States and localities should prioritize using clear, science-based communication, restoring trust and providing better data to address the hesitancy some people have about getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

In One State, a Battle Over Publicly Naming Disciplined Police Officers

A state appeals court in New Jersey ruled that the attorney general does have the power to compel police departments to disclose the names of police officers who have been disciplined for misconduct.

A State Moves to Publicly Disclose Information on Workplace Coronavirus Outbreaks

The decision by Oregon officials comes after scrutiny over outbreaks at a fruit company there.

In the Age of Social Distancing, Government Meetings Go Virtual

State and local governments are holding virtual meetings to slow the spread of Covid-19 and trying to find ways to continue public participation.

Granting Anonymity to State Lawmakers—Behind Tinted Windows

State law in Rhode island requires tinted car windows to let in a certain amount of light. One lawmaker wants to exempt General Assembly members from the rule, saying it's necessary to ensure safety.

Union Organizing Emails May Be Subject to Disclosure After State High Court Ruling

A group often at odds with government labor unions says the case sets an important precedent for when correspondence about union activities is public record.

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge on State Code Copyrights

Georgia holds a copyright for its annotated state code, which sells for $404, and sued to block a website from distributing free copies of the document.

Philly Mayor Deleted Years of Text Messages

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | W.Va. teachers strike … Alaska cold case leads to arrest in Maine using genetic genealogy … and the Cincinnati City Council’s attendance record.

The Reason Why Kentucky’s Pension Reform Law Was Struck Down

Gov. Matt Bevin, who championed the legislation, called Thursday’s state Supreme Court ruling “an unprecedented power grab by activists judges.”

The Case For Embracing Transparency

COMMENTARY | It's time to rethink and reframe our approach to public records.

Insurance Companies Balk at Florida’s Health Care Cost Transparency Website

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Feds sue California over net neutrality protections ... Nevada sex offender registry changes … and cat stuck on pole prompts interagency frustration.

Secret Government Communication Lawsuit Continues in Missouri

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Tulsa’s sexual assault grant funding … Louisiana wants to build an airport in a wildlife refuge … and Duluth’s unusual snow-shoveling rule.