February 10, 2011

Transparency Review (2/7 - 2/11)

• Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller is urging lawmakers to reform campaign disclosure laws, which would make Nevada elections more transparent. The first proposed reform -- searchable campaign finance data -- is almost exactly what TransparentNevada asked candidates about on our 2010 transparency survey.

• Government websites tend to have a reputation of being clunky, hard to navigate and often out of date. Nevada's Division of Budget and Planning is a perfect example of this. That's partially why I have been so impressed with NELIS -- the Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System. It does an excellent job tracking all proposed bills, committees and Legislators during this session. It's a very slick website that shows that technology done right is a boon to transparency in state government.

• House Speaker John Boehner has rebuffed C-SPAN's request to install cameras in the House that would capture lawmaker reactions during speeches on the floor. Former speakers Pelosi and Gingrich also rejected similiar requests from C-SPAN. The Washington Post notes that the current camera system will likely remain as it is, because it is in the lawmaker's interest for the cameras to stay soley focused on them. If the cameras were allowed to pan away from the speaker, it would show them talking to an almost entirely empty chamber.

The Hill reports that military budget experts don't think that the recently enacted earmark bans in the House and Senate will dramatically alter military spending in congressional districts.