State Integrity news for Kansas from SII partner KCUR:

A Kansas district attorney concludes that a series of meetings of key members of the legislature called by Governor Sam Brownback broke the state's open meetings law.  But there will be no charges and no fines and the investigation left a number of questions about the unannounced meetings and the open records law itself.

Read and hear more from KCUR - Kansas City.


State Integrity news from SII partner Colorado Public Radio:

It’s a pretty sweet deal. Three men facing tens of thousands of dollars in fines for campaign finance violations wound up getting slapped with the equivalent of a parking ticket. But how? Colorado Public Radio takes us through one tale of campaign finance waivers.

Read and hear more from Colorado Public Radio.


State Integrity News for Texas from SII partner KERA:

Texas is one of just six states that select all of its judges in partisan elections.  Critics say that creates conflicts of interest and politics becomes more important than qualifications.  In the third part of “Texas Judges: Out of Order,” we look at the pros and cons of the way Texas selects judges and some alternatives.

Listen to the story from KERA - Dallas.


State Integrity news for Texas from SII partner KERA:

Complaints about Texas judges are usually handled in secret and rarely lead to punishment. That’s what state lawmakers heard when they met to review the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, the agency that disciplines judges.

Citizens testified that the agency’s secrecy makes it impossible to know whether Texas’s 3,910 judges are being held accountable. Austin attorney Bennie Ray told lawmakers that even when judges are punished it’s a slap on the wrist in a closed meeting.

“There’s no way for the public or a voter to easily track a judges complain history. Judges could have a number of informal complaints and nobody would know about them,” Ray testified.

Read and hear more from KERA - Dallas.


State integrity news from SII partner New Hampshire Public Radio:

With the 2012 primary less than three weeks away, candidates for state office in New Hampshire have until midnight Wednesday to file their first campaign finance reports with the Secretary of State's office.

But if the past is any guide, the disclosures will offer a rather limited view of how political campaigns are paid for in New Hampshire. Critics say flaws in the state election statutes make it easy for corporations and other wealthy donors to exceed dollar limits on individual contributions, putting the integrity of the state's political process at risk.

Read and hear more from New Hampshire Public Radio.


State Integrity news from SII partner New Hampshire Public Radio:

The candidates for governor in New Hampshire face a deadline this week for submitting campaign finance reports to the state. So far, the candidates have raised a total of mroe than two million dollars.

That's what we know. But there’s a lot we don’t know about campaign money. Many election observers say a lot of campaign money won’t ever show up in candidate reports.

Hear more from New Hampshire Public Radio.


State Integrity news from SII partner New Hampshire Public Radio:

New Hampshire has required candidates and political committees to file periodic reports with the Secretary of State's offices for years. But in 2006, to make the process easier and more transparent, elections officials began allowing campaigns to submit their receipt and expenditure reports via the Internet.

The problem is, state election law does not require the campaigns to use the electronic filing system, so hardly any of them do.

Read more from New Hampshire Public Radio.


State Integrity news for Texas from SII partner KERA:

The State Integrity Investigation on government corruption gives Texas an average grade of C for holding judges accountable. But some citizens and lawmakers who’ve tested the system say that grade is far too high.

As part of a series of reports -- "Texas Judges: “Out of Order” -- KERA found that the public can access little information about misconduct complaints against judges. The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct, the agency that investigates and disciplines judges, is not subject to the Texas Public Information Act.

And even when citizens file complaints about a judge misbehaving in the courtroom, the complaints sometimes cannot be investigated because no record exists of the proceedings in many Texas courts.

Read and hear more from KERA - Dallas.


State Integrity news for Ohio from SII partner WVXU:

In existence for only a year and a half, JobsOhio is a public-private partnership that claims to have helped create more than 31,000 new jobs in the Buckeye State.

But critics characterize the agency as an unaccountable group with access to taxpayer dollars. An unlikely alliance of liberals and conservatives is involved in a lawsuit that questions whether state officials violated the constitution when they created JobsOhio.

Read and hear more from WVXU - Cincinnati.

 

 

 


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.


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