Arkansas received an overall grade of “C” for its online transparency, according to a nonprofit group that studies the issue.
John Lyon with our content partner, the Arkansas News Bureau, reports:
In a report released Wednesday, Alexandria, Va.-based Sunshine Review gave Arkansas an overall grade of C. Broken down by category, it gave the state government a B, counties a D-minus, cities a C and school districts a C.
“Arkansas transparency scores are disappointing and in desperate need of improvement,” Sunshine Review President Michael Barnhart said in a news release. “Anything less than an A-plus is a disservice to Arkansas taxpayers. Sunshine Review urges Arkansas’ elected officials to put the necessary resources into their online transparency and improve their rankings across the board.”
The report was released about three months after the debut of the state’s online checkbook, a searchable website documenting state expenditures. Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, who led the push for the website, noted that earlier this year, before the online checkbook launched, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave Arkansas an F for online transparency.
“I definitely think moving from an F to a B is a huge feat, and I think we can move even higher by making a few other changes,” Darr said.
Sunshine Review said it did not give the state government an A because of two issues: Its website does not provide a form or contact information for submitting a request under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act — though it does provide the text of the act — and it does not provide information on taxpayer-funded lobbying.
You can read the full report at this link.