Six bills look to transform transparency in Oregon

Well, we’ve finally arrived. Transparency season in the Oregon Legislature. Hard to know where it all will lead, but the fact that we got here – and with more proposals in favor of transparency than against it – is at least a good sign for Oregon. Here’s my summary of what’s on the menu, along with the state of the union for each proposal:
Senate Bill 481: This is the offspring of the Attorney General’s Public Records Task Force. It’s potentially the heaviest hitting piece of legislation on the table.

Is it a business to report on racial disparities?

It cost $2,400 to buy the Unequal Justice series. That’s not pay for the reporters or photographers. That’s not the cost of editing and distributing the work, either. That’s just the cost to buy the story from the Oregon Judicial Department, which controls the bulk data that underpins the Oregon eCourt Case Information – the database a reporter analyzed to uncover the disparities reported in the series. It’s also something for which the Oregon Judicial Department charges money.

Timber dispute fells meetings law

A kerfuffle at an April meeting of the Council of Forest Trust Land Counties has at least one environmental group calling foul, the council’s chairman chastised, and a handful of state forestry leaders ensnared in a legal quagmire that’s hiding behind war-font headlines.