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SUNSHINE WEEK: Eight states awarded As for legislative transparency

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Photo - The Sunlight Foundation's Open States: Transparency Report Card grades the legislative transparency of all 50 states.
The Sunlight Foundation's Open States: Transparency Report Card grades the legislative transparency of all 50 states.
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Residents of eight states get some good news from the Sunlight Foundation to start Sunshine Week - they live in states that got A grades for their legislative transparency.

The eight most transparent states include: Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.

But residents of six other states get the bad news today because they live in states that flunked the Sunlight Foundation's Open States:Transparency Report Card.

The six least transparent states include Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Rhode Island.

Sunlight's James Turk explains how the Open States: Transparency Report Card being released today in conjunction with Sunshine Week came about:

"In the course of writing scrapers for all 50 state legislatures, our Open States team and volunteers spent a lot of time looking at state legislative websites and struggling with the often inadequate information made available. Impossibly difficult to navigate sites, information going missing and gnarly PDFs of tabular data have become daily occurrences for those of us working on Open States," Turk said.

"People are always curious to know how their state stacked up compared to others -- in fact one of the most frequent questions we have been asked has been "so which state was the worst?" That question got us thinking: How could we derive a measure of how "open" a state's legislative data was," he said.

What they settled on were six criteria to be applied to all 50 states, including completeness, timeliness, machine readability, use of commonly owned standards and permanence.

The report card is the latest in a long line of tools created by Sunlight to enhance transparency and accountability in government.

Go here for more on the Open States: Transparency Report Card.

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