Transparency

Gov. Bill Haslam’s office denied a public records request to review his official calendar, a decision that in Tennessee can only be challenged via the courts. An open government advocate said the public has an interest in seeing Haslam’s schedule.

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State officials will add a provision to deals with companies to recoup taxpayer money if the companies fail to meet stated job creation goals, a spokesman for the Department of Economic and Community Development said.

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State officials point to planned improvements to mobile access and the state website’s search engine in demonstrating their commitment to being transparent to the public. But open government advocates say the state has a long ways to go.

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Commentary by Kent Flanagan, Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, May 3, 2012: 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 […]

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Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is giving up on a plan to solicit more detailed information from companies receiving taxpayer-funded grants after hitting a snag in the Senate over which details should be made public. Sen. Bo Watson, a high-ranking Republican who is carrying the measure, opted to shove the bill in a defunct subcommittee that […]

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School board members could participate in meetings over the Internet, and more information would be available about the interest groups pushing certain legislation, under two bills considered by lawmakers this year. Here are other measures dealing with government transparency.

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In an effort to help promote Sunshine Week, TNReport is republishing editorial cartoons kindly made available by Sunshineweek.org to raise awareness about the fundamental importance of open government in a free society. “Though created by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why,” say organizers of […]

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Tennessee makes it near impossible for taxpayers to see and understand online how their money is being spent, according to a study by U.S. PIRG. The state garnered 51 out of a possible 100 points in the group’s study of financial transparency, putting Tennessee near the back of the pack among the states.

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Gov. Bill Haslam has backed off a bill that would allow for larger class sizes in Tennessee schools, and top lawmakers are editing a bill that would shield certain financial information submitted by companies in their applications for taxpayer-funded grants. More updates here on Haslam’s legislative agenda.

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says the financial information of winners of state economic development grants should be made public after the companies are selected. Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell say the governor’s bill to collect more information from companies should be recrafted.

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A Gov. Bill Haslam-backed legislative proposal to offer secrecy to businesses applying for millions of dollars in state grants is up for a vote in the Senate Thursday. Last week in Nashville during the Tennessee Press Association’s Winter Convention, Elenora Edwards, managing editor of TPA’s statewide trade publication, took the governor to task somewhat on […]

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The new Senate speaker pro tem said he has been satisfied with efforts at the Department of Revenue to make such private letter rulings — statements issued to taxpayers — more open. The issue has been heightened by Amazon’s move to the state and its exemption from collecting sales taxes.

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