Rep. Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, filed legislation today calling for the creation of a website, through the Department of Finance and Administration, that would track expenditures of state funds. The "Open Checkbooks in Government Act" would create a searchable database of all state expenditures including: the name of the recipients (excluding private information or recipients of state or federal assistance payments); the amount spent; a description of the transaction; source of authority for the expenditure and the funding agency. The site would also keep an up-to-date list of all public meetings.
The bill requires all state agencies to cooperate with DF&A in providing all the necessary information. It's one of a package of FOI bills Greenberg has filed.
These are all fine ideas, though some agencies will undoubtedly complain about cost and bother. But until the legislature provides attorney fees to those who successfully sue the state, the FOI has the most meaning primarily for those with very deep pockets.