Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states:
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In Maryland’s “clubby” Capitol, there’s little transparency, procurement policies are byzantine, and audit results are often ignored. Read more from SII State Reporter Christian Bourge
SANTA FE — On February 20, New Mexico’s House Energy and Natural Resources Committee gathered for one of its regular meetings in a drab room here at the capitol, a circular building known as the Roundhouse. On the agenda: a bill that would hike fees and penalties for energy companies drilling wells in the state.
The votes fell along party lines, with five Republicans lining up against the bill and the committee's Democratic majority voting to send the legislation to the House floor. The Republicans argued the bill would stifle business and cost jobs, and for one lawmaker, the issue hit particularly close to home. Rep. James Strickler spends most of the year running his own small oil and gas production company, JMJ Land & Minerals Co. The bill would directly affect his profits.
State Integrity news for Maryland and Virginia from SII partner WAMU:
If "sunlight is the best of disinfectants," as former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote, local lawmakers may need a refresher on the importance of government transparency. The State Integrity Investigation gave failing grades to both Maryland and Virginia when it came to the public's access to information.
Maryland ranked 46th out of 50 states and Virginia ranked 49th. While the District was not included in the survey, the mayor's administration faced sharp criticism this summer when it proposed weakening D.C.'s public records laws and broadening the range of documents that may be exempt from disclosure.
Read and hear more from SII partner WAMU - Washington, D.C.
State Integrity news for Maryland from SII partner WAMU:
Opponents of Maryland's new Congressional redistricting map are hoping to overturn it in November. They've submitted petitions that will put a referendum on the state's ballot. If voters approve the measure, legislators will have to re-draw the map in 2013.
The process that led to the new map earned Maryland a D-minus grade in the State Integrity Investigation. Overall, the state earned the same mark.
Hear more from WAMU - Washington, D.C.
State integrity news for Maryland from SII partner WAMU:
By the first of the year, financial disclosure reports for members of the Maryland General Assembly must be posted online.
Currently, if anyone wants to look at financial disclosure forms, they have to go to Annapolis and see them in person. Since that can be an arduous task for anyone who doesn't live close to the capital, lawmakers earlier this year passed a bill that would put the information online.
The forms show what employment legislators and their spouses have outside of the General Assembly. That the forms weren't online previously was one of many reasons Maryland received a D- grade in the State Integrity Investigation, which looked at the risk of government corruption in each state.
Read and hear more from from WAMU - Washington, D.C.
State integrity news for Maryland, from the Washington Times:
Maryland officials say they are drawing closer to closing a campaign-finance loophole that has allowed owners of limited liability companies to give millions in extra donations to state political candidates.
The state’s Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law met for two days this week to discuss possible legislation to tighten the state’s relatively loose campaign-finance laws, and members acknowledged the loophole is one of the most pressing matters before them.
Read the rest of the story at the Washington Times.