Good news for open government advocates: The Georgia Supreme Court today upheld a lower court’s assessment of legal fees to citizens who challeged closed meetings held by the Statesboro City Council. The ruling comes after the council met in secret last year to discuss eliminating the jobs of the city’s police and fire chiefs.
Georgia lawmakers Monday gave voters less access to information on local candidates’ finances, reversing part of a 2010 reform bill that became law just two months ago. The legislators’ action could also cost the cash-strapped Campaign Finance Commission $130,000 — which it doesn’t have — to notify candidates of possible violations. If the commission can’t afford to send those notices, it can’t enforce the law.
UPDATE: The ethics bill was recommitted just now (12:20 p.m. Wednesday) to the Rules Committee. Not sure what’s up with that. We’ll find out when the committee meets at 1:30 p.m.
The House Rules Committee today pushed ahead with Speaker David Ralston’s ethics bill after rejecting Democrats’ drive for a $50 cap on gifts from lobbyists. The panel scheduled the bill, tweaked just before the meeting, for debate by the full House on Wednesday. Procedurally, the measure was passed in such a way that it cannot be amended on the House floor.
Open government advocates got an early holiday gift from the White House today. The Office of Management and Budget released the detailed directive to federal agencies on transparency that President Barack Obama called for on his second day in office. The 11-page directive sets out specific tasks for agencies and gives them deadlines.