FOI DAILY DOSE: State bills promote open gov, OpenGovernment Minn. website launched

State bills support transparency in Mass., La.

New pieces of legislation aim to further transparency at both the state and city government level.

In Massachusetts, four measures have been introduced that, if passed, will make the legislature accountable via the state open meetings law.

Two years ago, the legislature exempted itself from the open meetings and public records laws through the passage of an ethics reform bill.

In Louisiana, a measure has been introduced that would make all the governor’s records public.

The state currently exempts the governor from disclosing records that are under a “deliberative process,” according to a Sunlight Foundation blog post.

New York City is also jumping on the transparency bandwagon with the passage of a bill that will make executive orders from the mayor’s office available online.

Prior to the bill’s passage, executive orders were only available through FOI requests. The bill will require all memorandums of understanding, which are documents detailing agreements between various parties, and related documents to be made available online by April 1, 2012.

Minn. becomes sixth state to launch OpenGovernment website

OpenGovernment Minnesota, a transparency website that tracks state government happenings using official documents, social media alerts and other avenues, launched June 17.

It is the sixth state to launch an OpenGovernment website as part of the Sunlight Foundation’s joint project with the Participatory Politics Foundation.

The project aims to increase transparency at various levels of government throughout the U.S.

Minnesota joins California, Texas, Wisconsin, Maryland and Louisiana in having OpenGovernment websites.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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