Oceguera calls for transparency reforms, including putting Nevada’s checkbook online

Victor Joecks

Assembly Majority Leader John Oceguera (the presumed speaker if the D’s maintain control of the Assembly) called for a couple of important transparency reforms Wednesday.

In addition to the bill requiring a cooling off period, Oceguera said he and other legislators are preparing a bill to put the state of Nevada’s checkbook online so citizens can see how every dollar is spent and another bill to require all candidates for public office to report all their contributions within 72 hours of receipt. Names of donors and the amounts they contributed would be required in the reports.

Hmmm, that first reform sounds familiar. From TransparentNevada’s Candidate Survey:

Question #1: Do you support putting an itemized accounting of all state spending (a.k.a. Nevada’s checkbook) online in a searchable format, as states such as Missouri and Texas have done?

How much of a common-sense reform is putting a government agency’s checkbook online? The bill that put the federal checkbook online was sponsored by conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, then-Sen. Barack Obama and Obama’s future presidential opponent, Sen. John McCain.

It’s such a popular reform that, as I’ve detailed before, it doesn’t get opposed publicly – it just never seems to happen. Right now the Department of Administration has the information available to create this site and the authorization from an executive order by Gov. Gibbons to create this site, but it’s lacking about $250,000 to put the information online.

The good news is that if Oceguera is serious about enacting this reform (note Ralston’s take),
he doesn’t even have to wait for the next legislative session. The Interim Finance Committee, which by chance meets tomorrow (although it’s probably too late to submit it as an agenda item for this meeting), has an extra $401,000 in contingency funds. It had previously allocated $500,000 to pay for a tax study, but it only ended up paying $99,000 for a spending wish list.

Anyway, the news that Oceguera supports putting Nevada’s checkbook online should be welcomed by taxpayers, and it also highlights why candidates, if they haven’t already, should fill out TransparentNevada’s transparency questionnaire (more than 60 candidates already have, and you can see their answers here).

Citizens deserve to know where candidates for Nevada’s legislative and constitutional offices stand on various transparency issues. For instance, Oceguera has yet to complete his survey. Candidates should return their questionnaires ASAP, and citizens should ask candidates to fill out the survey and should insist that candidates reveal where they stand on issues relating to government transparency.

Until then, I’ll keep an eye on the list of bill draft requests for Oceguera’s transparency bills.