South Carolina: A bold move for transparency

The State Integrity Investigation (SII) caused South Carolina, one of the poorest scoring states in this US-wide assessment of the quality of transparency and accountability mechanisms at the state level, to act.

South Carolina placed sixth-to-last, behind Georgia, South Dakota, Wyoming, Virginia and Maine in the SII assessment.

At her State of the State address Jan. 16, in front of a joint session of the State Legislature, Gov. Nikki Haley admitted her state has a high risk for corruption, noting that according to SII, South Carolina got F’s in its ethics enforcement agencies; its legislative, executive and judicial accountability; the public’s access to information; and the transparency of state budget processes, among others, for a total of nine F’s in 14 categories.

“Every single one of us knows that is not good enough, that the people of South Carolina deserve better,” Gov. Haley said, “and that it is our responsibility – our obligation – to give it to them.”

Gov. Haley’s bold move, standing up and providing a political platform for action, is commendable, and Global Integrity hopes to work with political leaders in South Carolina to design evidence-based transparency and accountability reforms. 

This is yet another example of how SII is leading to real reform around the United States.

On Jan. 10, the Rhode Island state government launched its Transparency Portal where the state publishes reports, audits, forms, and other financial information such as contracts, grants and quasi-public agency expenditures. Global Integrity and other transparency organizations are engaging with officials there to bring international best practices to Rhode Island to further strengthen the portal and related reforms.

And the work with states across the nation continues.

In Florida, Global Integrity is co-sponsoring with WLRN and the Miami Herald the “Help Us Make Tallahassee Accountable At Session 2013” Town Hall on Feb. 25 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. You can register for the event here. 

In this session, citizens will help Florida lawmakers shape the legislative agenda for the 2013 session, plus seek ways to make the state government more accountable.

— Julio C. Urdaneta

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