Sunshine Report for January 2014



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The Sunshine Report: Online
Transparency news from the
Virginia Coalition
for Open Government
  January 2014

In this issue

VCOG's bill chart for the next legislative session

VCOG's annual conference

Open government in the news


Coalition News

New board members
VCOG is pleased to welcome three new members to our board ranks. Stephen Hayes, general manager of WTVR in Richmond, will take up one of the seats designated for nominees of the Virginia Association of Broadcasters. Brian Eckert, communications director at Washington & Lee, and Christopher Gatewood, owner of Threshold Counsel in Richmond, are the two newest at-large members. Welcome!

If you or someone you know is interested in serving on the VCOG board, please forward us the name and a brief explanation for why the individual would make a good board member.

FracturedChipWoodrum Legislative Internship
Join us in celebrating the legacy of Chip Woodrum by being a part of our effort to endow a student internship for each General Assembly session, where the recipient would learn about and participate in the legislative process. Please keep Chip’s memory alive in our hearts and minds, and in the minds of future generations of leaders.

THANK YOU to those businesses, organizations and individuals who contributed to VCOG's annual conference

  • Alpha-Omega Wealth Management
  • Associated Press
  • Christian & Barton
  • The City of Williamsburg
  • Concerned Citizens of Giles County
  • David Bailey Associates
  • Essex Sunshine
  • Johnny Timbers Tree Service
  • Judy For Wason Center for Public Policy
  • Just Cause Foundation
  • Quilts Unlimited
  • Society of Professional Journalists - Virginia Pro Chapter
  • Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership
  • The Virginia Gazette
  • Virginia Lawyers Weekly
  • Virginia Press Women
  • Virginia Public Access Project
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • The Virginian-Pilot
  • Woods Rogers
  • World Media Enterprises
  • WTVR-3, Richmond
  • WWBT-12, Richmond
And the following individuals: Bruce & Jody Bennett, Peter Broadbent, Paul Casalaspi, Clyde Christofferson, Amy Carter Day, Paul Fletcher, Joe Fuentes, Mark Grunewald, Natalie Hart, Waldo Jaquith, Spencer Kimball, Jim LeMunyon, Eileen McAfee, Andria McClellan, Judy McClosky, Kelly Place, Elisabeth Rhyne, Megan Rhyne, Rebecca Rhyne, Brenda Stewart, Michael Stowe, Mary Taylor and Dawn Vermette.

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Greetings, Friend of VCOG!


The Virginia General Assembly 2014

With the next legislative session less than a week away, VCOG has posted its annual chart of bills it will be following. Bills are still being added every day, so check back frequently, and follow us on TwitterFacebook and email.

Among the more intriguing proposals: one by Sen. Chap Petersen to remove the exemption currently enjoyed by the General Assembly itself!

VCOG's 2013 Annual Conference: panelists debate ethics, disclosure and the Virginia Way

IMG_1867Nearly 70 people turned out on an unusually warm December day in Williamsburg for VCOG's annual conference. They were there to sit in on panels dissecting Virginia's gift-and-disclosure rules regarding those in political office (l-r: Benson Dendy, Waldo Jaquith, Gordon Morse, Ginger Stanley). 

Attendees also heard a presentation on the promise of open data's ability to stimulate economic growth from Aneesh Chopra, and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling talked at length about civility in politics.

IMG_1862The conference also gave VCOG the opportunity to publicly recongnize its annual open-government award winners, which this year included Fairfax County Clerk of Court John Frey, Washington Post reporters Rosalind Helderman (pictured at left with VCOG President Craig Fifer) and Laura Vozzella, and Onancock resident Charles Landis.

The conference raised nearly $9,000 for VCOG, a record year in dollar amounts and in the number of donors. Our contributors are thanked at left.

For a tweet-by-tweet recap of the conference, go to our inventory on Storify.


Open government in the news

Google selected Chantilly as the 2013 “eCity” of Virginia. The Google eCity Award recognizes the strongest online business community, or digital capital, in each state.  The businesses within this community are using the Web to find new customers, maintain contact with existing customers and help fuel the local economies, county officials said in announcing the selection....The Center for Public Integrity gave Virginia an F for its financial disclosure requirements for judges. On the bright side, 41 other states also received failing grades.....Politifact rated as "broken" Gov. Bob McDonnell's promise to introduce legislation to require "all major executive branch boards and commissions to provide live streatming video on the commonwealth's website." When questioned about the promise, McDonnell's spokeswoman said such a move would not require legislation. Nonetheless, very few agenices do so, and the governor's office has only encouraged agencies to video stream....The National Park Service refused to honor a FOIA request for records relating to barricades at Mount Vernon during the government shut-down....After Hanover County received its first ever public records request for any and all e-mails pertaining to a particular topic, County Attorney Sterling Rives noted that the county is already making changes in how electronic record-keeping is handled....The city of Lynchburg launched a new interactive website to swap ideas and comments with the public. The site,, allows both city officials and citizens alike to introduce a topic and start a discussion. The project just went live this month and already features a host of topics, ranging from security cameras on Monument Terrace to the state of the local nightlife.


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and feel free to ask for copies of our most recent IRS 990 or financial review.