State integrity news for Nebraska, from the Lincoln Journal Star:
Common Cause Nebraska has presented a persuasive case for improving state laws requiring disclosure on lobbying expenses and campaign contributions. The watchdog group noted that special interest groups spent at least $14 million last year trying to influence Nebraska’s state government.
But the figures on lobbying expenses are incomplete, often unclear and possibly misleading.
Read the rest of the story at the Lincoln Journal Star.
State integrity news for Arizona, from the Arizona Republic:
Seventy-two of nearly 200 state and legislative candidates in this year's election are choosing to run using Arizona's publicly funded Clean Elections program.
Voters concerned about corrupt candidates passed the act in 1998 after collecting enough signatures to put it on the ballot. Clean Elections candidates agree to not accept money from special-interest groups.
Read the rest of the story at the Arizona Republic.
State integrity news for South Carolina, from the Greenville Times:
Gov. Nikki Haley has been cleared for the second time of possible ethics violations by a House Ethics Committee that was loaded with Republicans. Haley’s exoneration by her former House members on two occasions creates a strong case for moving on from these charges.
The Legislature’s focus going forward should be on closing loopholes in the state ethics law and bringing greater transparency to the important issue of how state lawmakers earn money.
Read the rest of the story at the Greenville Times.
State integrity news for Missouri, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Missouri Legislature's failure to replace an ethics reform law tossed out by the state Supreme Court earlier this year has left some wondering whether there will be a spike in questionable gifts and donations to elected officials as the campaign season heats up.
A month after the court threw out Missouri's ethics law, the state received a C rating on a project dubbed the "State Integrity Investigation."
Read the rest of the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
State integrity news for Michigan, from the Detroit Free Press:
Aggressive fund-raising by lame-duck officeholders is controversial because a major donor motive -- helping an officeholder get re-elected -- no longer exists. "It really makes it a more direct connection between money and policy," said Rich Robinson, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, a Lansing-based watchdog group.
It's not surprising that Michigan's two top lame-duck fund-raisers are the appropriations committee chairmen in the Senate and House, he said.
Read the rest of the story at the Detroit Free Press.
State Integrity news for Virginia from SII partner WAMU:
Virginia was given a failing grade this spring by the State Integrity Investigation. Since that time, Virginia Press Association president Ginger Stanley has been in Richmond pushing for more access.
"The General Assembly has been very reluctant to ever see the access community's side of it," says Stanley.
Among the issues in Virginia: The state allows police to shield complaints, memoranda, correspondence, case files, reports and witness statements in all cases, regardless of what the case is about, and regardless of whether a case is open or closed.
Read and hear more from WAMU - Washington, D.C.
State integrity news for Tennessee, from the Tennesseean:
A website debuting today will make it easier for the public to see some of the economic incentives the state has given to companies doing business here.
But the move is only a first step toward full transparency regarding the jobs actually created by those firms at a time when economic pressures are making elected officials especially willing to use incentives and subsidies, according to an accountability group that advised state officials as they developed the site.
Read the rest of the story at the Tennesseean.
State integrity news for Wisconsin, from the LaCrosse Tribune:
Government entities can't charge the public for time spent deleting confidential information from records, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The decision marks a major victory for open government advocates and the media amid an intense debate over whether taxpayers or requesters should foot the bill for redaction costs, which can sometimes stretch into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Read the rest of the story at the LaCrosse Tribune.
State integrity news for Florida, from the Tampa Bay Times:
On Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater unveiled a new web site that details most of the state's contracts so the public can determine if they are being held accountable for the services they are offering. The goal, he said, is to put the heat on the flawed contracting system by turning the public into watchdogs and inviting more competitors to the table.
The hope is "this improves accountability because there's no place to hide," Atwater said at a news conference in Tallahassee.
Read the rest of the story at the Tampa Bay Times.
State integrity news for Washington, from The Olympian:
It’s still more than four months to the general election, but not too soon for all the state government candidates to get specific about where they stand on open access to public records.
By an overwhelming majority in 1972 – a 72 percent yes vote – Washington state voters approved an initiative that created the state Public Records Act.
Read the rest of the story at The Olympian.