Transparency News 2/14/14

Friday, February 14, 2014

State and Local Stories

VCOG's annuallegislative bill chart, with updates, explanations & positions

Chesterfield County Circuit Court officially went online Monday in a move that allows the public immediate access to criminal court information through the Supreme Court of Virginia’s searchable website. In fulfilling a request from Chesterfield Circuit Court Clerk Judy Worthington, the high court’s information technology unit added Chesterfield to the 115 other circuit courts in Virginia that allow online public viewing of criminal court data via the state’s case management system. Three other circuit courts provide online access through systems of their own. “The time it took to complete the project was within our projected time frame,” Paul DeLosh, the Virginia Supreme Court’s director of judicial services, said of the programming and testing work required to link Chesterfield — well in advance of the two-month projected estimate.

Shenandoah County leaders would not back a supervisor's request for information from the school system. District 4 Supervisor Cindy Bailey told the board she asked Superintendent Jeremy Raley and County Administrator Mary T. Price in December for detailed information on employee pay. Bailey has received information from most county government departments. The superintendent has told Bailey that it would cost about $700 to fulfill her information request. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act allows government administrations and school divisions to charge certain amounts to cover the costs associated with fulfilling information requests. Bailey has questioned why the school system would charge that much for data she claims is easily obtained.
Northern Virginia Daily

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s legal defense fund is bolstering its fundraising appeal, writing to potential supporters that the cost for McDonnell’s defense is expected to top $1 million. McDonnell is in “the fight of his life,” The Restoration Fund states in an email sent Thursday morning. “The trial alone will cost approximately $500K for legal fees, housing, experts, transcripts etc.,” the email states. “We need to insure that the legal team has the resources to prepare and defend Bob at trial.”
Roanoke Times

In an official statement released Wednesday, the office of U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District, defended Hurt’s vote against adding rules to the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act that would have required companies nationwide to report data to federal regulators regarding chemicals and mixtures that could potentially leak into public water systems.
Register & Bee

National Stories

Nosey about how much of a pension the retired firefighter down the street earns? Well, the Nevada Policy Research Institute has made it easy for you to find out. Starting Thursday the organization will post on its TransparentNevada website the estimated annual pensions of the 49,073 retired state and local government employees. This is the website that drew 1.98 million views last year because it allowed people to see how much money current public employees earn. In particular, it showed that hundreds of firefighters earn more than Gov. Brian Sandoval’s annual $149,000 salary. On TransparentNevada, readers will find the 1,054 past workers will receive more than $100,000 this year in retirement benefits from the Public Employees’ Retirement System. Eleven will receive more than $200,000.
Las Vegas Review-Journal