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Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Texas Ranked #1 in Online Transparency
Houston County Courier -  March 2009      

AUSTIN – Texas has been ranked number one in online transparency out of all 50 states, according to a study conducted as part of the annual Sunshine Week campaign.
Sunshine Week is a national initiative by journalism organizations to focus on open government and access to information.
“It is encouraging to see Texas’ concerted efforts of greater budget transparency recognized at this level, said Gov. Rick Perry.
“I am a longtime supporter of transparency and the accountability that comes with it. I hope that Texas will continue to build on these successes by calling for even more transparency, including from our institutions of higher education and municipalities all across the state.”
To conduct the study, teams of surveyors scanned government websites from each state looking for 20 different kinds of public records.
The only state found to provide information online in all 20 categories was Texas.
Surveyors rated each section based on user experience and friendliness, considering factors such as whether information was clearly linked, if full reports or only summaries were available, whether the site offered free viewing and/or downloading, and if the data was current.
Categories surveyed included financial disclosures, audit reports, project expenditures, department of transportation projects, bridge inspection reports, fictitious registration of business names, death certificates, disciplinary actions against attorneys, disciplinary actions against medical physicians, hospital inspection reports, nursing home inspection reports, child care center inspection reports, statewide school test scores, teacher certifications, school building inspections, school bus inspections, gas pump overcharges, consumer complaints against businesses, environmental citations, and campaign finance information.

For more information on the study, visit http://www.sunshineweek.org/.





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