With new snow greeting us each morning, even though it’s Spring, many are desperate for warmer weather. But that’s not the kind of sunshine I’m talking about. I’m referring to the Idaho Sunshine Law which originally passed in 1974. The Sunshine Law requires full disclosure of campaign financing and the registration of paid lobbyists.
People back in ‘74 were distrustful of the way government was working, so they took matters into their own hands. They gathered thousands of signatures and got the Sunshine measure on the ballot, where it passed, giving us more transparency by revealing who donates to campaigns and who supports or opposes legislation.
Now the legislature is adding a new feature to that law: The requirement of individual financial disclosures for elected officials and candidates. SB1156 passed the Senate unanimously today and will go on to the House. If finalized, all candidates and elected officials will file a yearly disclosure form with the Secretary of State, listing their main income sources, not amounts, and any property and assets they own.
It’s a much-needed step in the right direction and our local government could take an important lesson: How about adding the same requirement for all City and County officials?
The City of Nampa is stepping it up too. They announced last month that their city’s checkbook will soon be online for all to see. Mayor Tom Dale said, "It does give people easy access to go on the Internet and see where every dollar is spent..."
Wouldn’t it be great to have our area cities adopt this new system, and LCDC as well? Such accountability would go a long way toward re-building public respect and trust.