Entries from March 2008
From an email just sent to the Google Group:
Sunlight’s launching a new legislative initiative at a new site called publicmarkup.org. We’ve pulled together legislation and rules changes from various bills, and drafted a number of entirely new provisions, to create a bill that comprehensively addresses transparency reform. While this bill borrows from the [...]
Let me give you two headlines, and you can tell me your reaction to each:
A) Big Oil Finances the Republican Party
B) Congressional Votes Correlated with Big Oil Contributions
From the headlines you’d think the articles are about two separate facts about the world. That is, that the two facts are independent. One can read the first [...]
March 23rd, 2008 · 1 Comment
When the administrators in charge of the House submit their budgets, their priorities and shortfalls are pretty clearly displayed for the appropriators. They justify their existence. Since they oversee various aspects of public access to Congress, increased pressure for digital public access affects the way they report their priorities. Here is the [...]
A 2006 document from the DLC–(the Depository Library Council) called “Knowledge Will Forever Govern”. (source pdf)
“FDLP Participation constituted a bargain wherein GPO printed and distributed federal publications at no charge to depository libraries that agreed to provide no fee public access to these materials… Council believes that in the electronic world the need for [...]
March 18th, 2008 · 1 Comment
From Boing Boing:
John Wonderlich of the Sunlight Foundation alerted me to a situation about a month ago that we’ve been pursuing (with EFF’s help) at the Government Accountability Office, which is an arm of the U.S. Congress.
The law librarians at GAO have compiled complete federal legislative histories from 1915 on. These are the definitive dossiers [...]
Are citizens and constituents civically underestimated?
If so, what are they not being encouraged to do, that they should be?
Probably the most obvious civic prompting we receive as members of society would be “get involved”, “vote”, or perhaps “call or write your member of Congress.”Ã‚Â While these three are certainly good advice, what else should people [...]
I posted recently that a new set of nuanced distinctions should be put into effect for government documents, setting priority levels and procedures for digital public access, much like security classifications and preservation schedules operate now. After James A. Jacobs thoughtful comment on “instantiation” to the google group (where he reminds us that transactional [...]
March 14th, 2008 · 1 Comment
Via the Open House Project Google Group, the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s new cover story details an ambitious proposal to update the city’s 1999 “Proposition G” sunshine ordinance. While the original ordinance is impressive in scope, precisely defining the disclosure required of public information (worth a read on its own ), the Guardian’s article [...]
Looking to read up on secret sessions of Congress?Ã‚Â CRS delivers (via OpenCRS):
“Secret” or “closed door” sessions of the House of Representatives and Senate are held periodically to discuss business, including impeachment deliberations, deemed to require confidentiality and secrecy. Authority for the two chambers to hold these sessions appears in Article I, Section 5, of [...]
From the BBC, it looks like a the government will be publishing “expense claims” of MPs, which has officials concerned over expected public outrage. Public funds being used for private housing (as allowed by their “Additional Cost Allowance”) is one issue under contention, as are payments made to family members (a conflict of interest [...]