Help for Web-based government watchdogs moving forward

Ever try to get public records from a state government Web site? There’s no consistency about what is available or how it is presented, from one state agency to another or between the different branches of state government.That could change, if HF 2557 from Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, becomes law.Kahn, who heads the House State Government Finance Division, proposes creating a state Webmaster position, which would be responsible for coordination and development of all state Web sites.Along with the new position would come the requirement for developing and maintaining standards of transparency, disclosure and access to public data online with which all state agencies would have to comply.The bill was up for a hearing in Kahn’s committee Wednesday and has already received approval in the House State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.A Senate companion bill, SF 2188, from Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, has already passed a couple committee hurdles and looks to be headed for a Senate floor vote. Continue Reading

Eight questions about today’s primary election

There’s a primary election Tuesday in Minnesota. You can be forgiven for not having noticed. With the temporary Republican takeover of the Twin Cities and a U.S. Senate race that’s been billed as a two-candidate duel for months, it’s easy to overlook the September balloting. But there are some intriguing questions to consider in looking at tomorrow’s results:
1. How comfortably will Al Franken advance out of the Democratic primary?There’s little doubt that the DFL-endorsed candidate will ultimately emerge from the six-candidate scuffle. Continue Reading