Ray of Sunshine Review: Site of the Day
Sunshine Review's editors honored a Ray of Sunshine Review: Site of the Day each non-holiday weekday from 2008-April 2009. This page is a list of the sites that were chosen.
- The California School Finance Center is a transparency tool created by the Pacific Research Institute and Just for the Kids—California for providing transparency, comparisons, and improvement on California's public school districts and charter schools. It compiles publicly-available information on public school revenue, achievement, and student demographic data in order to help school districts become more efficient and for educating citizens, parents, and students.
- Open Alabama was a website launched by Alabama Governor Bob Riley. The website has a section on state spending, a list of all active statewide contracts and awarded bids, a database of all leases held by state departments, and information on the Riley Administration's requirement for state agencies to link their budget requests to measurable objectives.
- School's Open Montana is a new website sponsored by the Montana Policy Institute that provides spending detail on Montana school districts.
- Colorado Spending Transparency is a new website sponsored by the Independence Institute that focuses on legislative, policy and outreach to require that Colorado school districts, Colorado counties and Colorado cities exercise full spending transparency.
- Dupage County, Illinois is taking further steps to government transparency. The county has formed an Ad Hoc panel to discuss new tools and process to provide more information to residents.Check it out.
- Nevada Spending.com will go live this week and reveal information on actual expenditures for fiscal years '06, '07, and '08, along with the Governor's budget recommendations for 2010 and 2011. Check it out. (dead link)
- Dupage County, Illinois Auditor Bob Grogan announced the county will be posting its checkbook register online. The three new reports posted on the Auditor’s website will include: a detailed listing of county payments made by each elected office and department along with payments grouped by vendor.Check it out.
- Jason Zandri of Wallingford, Connecticut built his own website with information about Wallingford (like minutes of meetings and the town budget) when the town itself wouldn't post the information on its official website.
- Open Georgia was launched and is a searchable database of expenditures, including salary and travel, professional services, financial reports, and program reviews.
- The U.S. Conference of Mayors would like to crowdsource 2009 projects into wiki-like pages that would allow residents to say whether or not they support the spending of the money.
- Iowa's Public Interest Institute announced the launch of Iowa Transparency.org which will focus on the spending habits of the state legislatures.
- The Brandywine Heights Area School District, Pennsylvania posts it's checkbook register, which is updated monthly.
- The Alabama Policy Institute has endorsed the “Alabama Right to Know” legislation which will be introduced by State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) and Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) in 2009. The website will provide a searchable database of state expenditures; contracts; legislative grants; and state grants. It would also require electronic filing of campaign contributions and expenditures and disclosure of relatives of politicians if they have contracts with the state.
- Texas Comptroller is having a Susan Combs is holding a audio conference on her spending transparency initiatives, including the "Where the Money Goes" - Window on State Government" website. The four major search functions on the website include state agency search, vendor search, spending category search and purchasing code search (which allows for drilling down to the "pencil-level" for the biggest agencies. Make sure to tune in.
- The Washington Governor has signed bill SB 6818 to create a government sponsored searchable budget website for Washington.
- The Washington Coalition for Open Government works to protect and expand Washington's open record and open meeting laws.
- The Citywide Data Warehouse is a centralized access point for operational data from multiple agencies built to support government transparency in Washington, D.C.
- The Empire Center for New York State Policy released a report in 2008 examining contract negotiations between the state and public employee unions showing that the tendency to keep details of such negotiations under wraps as long as possible is costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
- The Missouri Accountability Portal (MAP) is a reference site produced by the state of Missouri where citizens can track government expenditures, state employee pay, the distribution of tax credits, and how government programs are being enforced.
- The Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives is an independent, non-profit, research and educational institute based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The foundation develops and advances public policies based on the nation’s founding principles of limited constitutional government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility for one’s actions.
- The Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission is nearing the end of the busiest year of its existence. More FOIA complaints have been filed with the Commission in 2008 than in any other year.
October 27, 2008
- The Better Government Association of Illinois has released their 2008 Integrity Index (dead link), an examination of state level transparency and government accountability.
- The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government's mission is to help the general public, students, educators, public officials, media and legal professionals understand, obtain and exercise their First Amendment rights, and their rights and responsibilities under the New Mexico Open Meetings, Inspection of Public Records and Arrest Record Information Acts.
- The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council is celebrating its 30th year of defending the freedom of the press, openness in government and First Amendment rights this October.
- Californians Aware is an organization in CA working to foster confidence in the use of transparency laws by the public; and the compliance with those laws by the government.
- The RISC Foundation of Rhode Island has created The Money Trail, a clearinghouse of information from public records, and a platform for taking action to require governmental compliance with the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act.
- Georgia launches new transparency website aimed at helping citizens track where their tax dollars are being spent.
- The Buckeye Institute is developing a wiki devoted to transparency and good government in Ohio. Check out Ohio Sunshine (dead link) and see what you can add to the wiki today.
- The Ocean State Policy Research Institute have an ongoing project to find the budget and spending records for every city, town and school district in Rhode Island. Jump aboard the Transparency Train!
- Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is backing a new transparency site called Kentucky's Open Door to be launched January 2009. Ideas and feedback for making the site the best it can be are currently being solicited here (dead link).
- Open South Dakota is a review state government spending, current salaries of individual state employees, financial documents, vendor information, and listings of job classifications. The site provides information for over 106,000 financial entries.
- South Carolina Spending Transparency, a site run by the comptroller of South Carolina, who is posting annual and monthly spending of pending reports under its Statewide Accounting and Reporting System (STARS).
- Michigan Transparency.org is a site developed by the Mackinac Center that will reveal Secretary of State and Governor expenditures. The site also features revenue and spending data for Michigan public school districts as reported by the state Department of Education along with categorical grant data and school checkbook registers.
- Empower Texans is a new organization that launched to give video on why Texans should be asking how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.
- Nevada Policy Research Institute launched Transparent Nevada providing a searchable database of state expenditures to Nevada residents.
- Citizens for Responsible Government, an organization in Wisconsin, has created a state expenditure databases called the Government Accountability in Spending Project (GASP).
- The College of DuPage became one of the first taxing bodies in Illinois to post teacher salaries online.
- Smith County, Texas earned the coveted Ray of Sunshine Review today for being the second county in Texas--there are 254 counties in that great state--to post its checkbook register online.
- New York:Project Sunlight, a state run website posting information related to campaign finance, legislation, lobbying activity, and recipients of state government contracts.
- Oklahoma Open Books, a state run website disclosing government spending