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Monday, March 16, 2009

Texas places first in 2009 Survey of State Government Information

See how your state measures up to others in terms of state government information available online:

Most Americans can easily find videos of water skiing squirrels on the Internet but they’ll have less luck finding out whether their children's school buses and classrooms are safe, or if neighborhood gas stations are overcharging.

The Sunshine Week 2009 Survey of State Government Information online found that while more and more government records are being posted online, some of the most important information is being left offline. And in some cases governments are charging taxpayers to access records that they already paid for, such as death certificates.

More here.

More coverage:

Survey shows some Ky. records available online, Fort Mill Times
In Kentucky, which tied for 26th place, the easiest records to find online are death certificates; however, viewing them is not free. Citizens must order them online and pay processing and delivery fees.

Also easy to find are statewide school test data; disciplinary actions taken against physicians within the past decade; teacher certifications; political campaign contributions and expenses; and personal financial disclosure reports for members of the Kentucky legislature.

Mississippi last in survey of Internet records, Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The state has online data from only four of 20 categories examined by the Sunshine Week 2009 Survey of State Government Information Online.

But the Mississippi agencies responsible for these records aren’t solely to blame in the lag of posting information online. Other culprits include a shortage of funding for developing and maintaining the Web sites; a shortage of broadband Internet access in this mostly rural state and lack of interest by residents who opt not to go online.
N.C. gets high marks for posting public info online, Times-News Online

The report found that North Carolina, which tied for third place, provides information on 17 out of 20 categories surveyed.

A visitor to the state's government Web site (www.nc.gov) can easily find links to state agencies on health, public education and transportation, but other links listed under "Online Services" and "State Agencies" can be confusing for a first-time user, the survey found.

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