Campaign Transparency Efforts Continue in Congress and the FCC

Amid growing concerns about untracked spending on elections, two different efforts are underway to try to shed new light on this critical aspect of our democracy. First, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on June 24 reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act, which would require groups trying to influence elections to disclose their funding sources. Second, the July 1 reporting deadline for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) online political file rule has arrived. The rule requires broadcast television stations to post information online about political advertisements.

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GAO Report Rejects McConnell’s Latest Attack on Public Safeguards

On May 29, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report rejecting Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) latest ploy to stop EPA from moving forward with a proposed rule that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

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Is California Keeping People Safe at Work? Labor Advocates Say No

by Elizabeth Grossman (originally posted on The Pump Handle on May 14, 2014)

In 2012, the most recent year for which US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures are available, 375 people died on the job in California  – an average occupational fatality rate of more than one person every day. At the same time, research by Worksafe and other California labor advocates shows that while California’s workforce has grown by about 22 percent in the last 20 years, the number of safety inspectors for the 17 million people employed in the state’s 1.34 million workplaces has decreased by about 11 percent. 

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In Remembrance: Workers Memorial Day 2014

April 28 is Worker’s Memorial Day, an international day for remembering workers who have been injured or killed as a result of on-the-job incidents or long-term occupational illnesses. On this day, we also celebrate the substantial progress made in protecting workers over the forty-plus years since the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was enacted and remember how critical it is to continue the important work of ensuring our workers' health and safety. 

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Long Overdue: Obama to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractor Employees

In advance of his State of the Union speech tonight, the White House announced President Barack Obama will sign an executive order – which does not require congressional approval – to raise the wage floor to $10.10 for the lowest paid workers at companies that work on new federal government contracts.

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Leading Senator Calls for End of Fiscal Brinksmanship

On Sept. 17, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the floor of the Senate and said congressional Republicans need to come to the negotiating table and end the looming fiscal standoffs that are less than two weeks away.

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Open Government Advocates Disappointed by Rollback of STOCK Act Requirements for Online Access

Just a year after enacting it, Congress and the president rolled back a key transparency provision of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act) instead of amending it to address concerns.

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Shortcomings in Transparency Performance Point to the Need for Reforms of Freedom of Information Act

The Center for Effective Government's recent analysis, Freedom of Information Act Performance, 2012: Agencies Are Processing More Requests but Redacting More Often, highlighted some troubling trends in agencies' performance in providing information to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and found wide disparities among agencies. These shortcomings show that legislation will be needed to repair the current weaknesses in the FOIA system.

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Bill Would Open Access to Agency Reports to Congress

The Center for Effective Government joined more than 20 allies in endorsing the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 1380). The legislation would require the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to post any report issued to Congress or its committees on a public website. Introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and a group of 10 bipartisan co-sponsors, the bill would improve public access to the thousands of reports that federal agencies are required to submit to Congress each year by allowing people to search, sort, and download the documents.

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Ruling in Major Freedom of Information Act Case Requires Meaningful Responses to Requests

On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an important ruling in a lawsuit that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed against the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The court agreed with CREW’s position that in order to meet the Freedom of Information Act's (FOIA) deadline to reply to a request, an agency's response must be meaningful. The Center for Effective Government supported CREW’s position by joining an amicus brief in June 2012.

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