Model transparency legislation

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State Information

Since states vary widely in budgetary and fiscal practices and policies, model legislation provides some common ground and a basic framework for lawmakers and citizens who are pursuing more transparent government. Given the technology now widely available, an essential part of becoming transparent is establishing a searchable online database. Such a database should include information concerning:

  • Which entities (branches of government, agencies, etc.) are recipients of state funds, and how much each entity receives
  • A detailed account of how each of those entities spends those funds throughout the state's fiscal year
  • The outcomes of spending the money in that way; a list of what the entity accomplished by using taxpayer dollars as it did

Such legislation should also include:

  • Which agency or governmental office is responsible for maintaining the database
  • A note on the frequency with which the database will be updated
  • Explicit allocation of funding for that databse

Model transparency legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council is available at this link.

Transparency pledges also provide useful information about what should be included in a transparency database.

To see examples of databases that have already been launched, be sure to visit some of the following pages: