Corruption Risk Report Card
Rank among 50 states: 8th

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The story behind the score

High scores for Tennessee’s pension fund and auditing process are offset but weak campaign finance laws, a toothless ethics commission, and a secret redistricting process. Read more from SII State Reporter Sheila Burke.

Latest state news for Tennessee

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 Tennessee, from TNReport:

The State of Tennessee is lately booting up new technologies designed in theory to ease the public’s often wearisome interactions with government bureaucracies.

But genuine progress toward making government more transparent to taxpayers is actually pretty slow going, according to groups that promote easy access to public information.

Read the rest of the story at TNReport.

State integrity news for Tennessee, from the Tennesseean:

Gov. Bill Haslam says it’s “not easy” to strike a balance between efficiency and transparency in state government. Haslam has signed measures to make confidential the names of all but the three finalists for leadership positions in state colleges and universities, and to prevent parents from finding out the evaluation scores of teachers.

Haslam in an interview with The Associated Press last week also continued to defend his failed effort to close off information about companies — including the identities of their owners — that receive cash grants from the state.

Read the rest of the story at the Tennessean.

By Kent Flanagan, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government

Secrecy seemed to be a common thread running through the session of the Tennessee Legislature that ended May 1. The latest “secret” revealed is that key members of the Legislature met on April 23 at a Nashville restaurant of the session to work out deals on amendments to the governor’s $34.1 billion state budget proposal.

The secret session was revealed in an Associated Press story filed the following day.  No one in the Legislature or the governor’s office seemed upset that the meeting was held or revealed in news stories. But a representative of Gov. Bill Haslam did take care to note that no one from the governor’s office participated in the weekend meeting.

Tennessee political reporters and observer s know that this happens near the end of every legislative session in Tennessee. And it’s the reason the State Integrity Investigation, a national project to determine the potential for corruption in all 50 states, gave Tennessee a score of 0 out of a possible 100 on whether the "state budgetary process is conducted in a transparent manner."

State integrity news for Tennessee, from the Tennessean:

Senators voted 30-0 to replace the Court of the Judiciary, which reviews and rules on complaints against judges, with a new 16-member board appointed by judges, legislative leaders and the governor. The new Board of Judicial Conduct would be created after years of complaints that the Court of the Judiciary did not aggressively investigate claims of judicial misconduct and was too closely tied to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which appointed more than half of its members.

The measure, Senate Bill 2671, also sets up a procedure for investigating complaints against judges and requires the board to report regularly to the legislature on how grievances are resolved.

Read the rest of the story at the Tennesseean.

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