Transparency

Challenges to Americans’ civil liberties have increased in recent years.  History teaches us that during national emergencies governments are even more likely to overstep and violate constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. To address this concern, Pioneer Institute has created “Respect My Rights,” a web-based hotline to which citizens can submit complaints and descriptions of violations they have experienced.
At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has caused massive shifts in state policies on telehealth and scope of practice in healthcare, a new Pioneer Institute study underscores that most of the 50 states continue to suffer from weak laws regarding price transparency.  The study identified states that have laws that require carriers, providers or both to provide personalized cost information to consumers before obtaining healthcare services.  Fully 33 states placed in the lowest of the three broad analytic tiers on the strength of their state healthcare transparency laws. 
News sources report that certain senators sold stocks just before the market crashed when the economic impact of Coronavirus came to light. Now more than ever, financial disclosures must be accessible to the media and to the public.
COVID-19 has overshadowed what was supposed to be Sunshine Week, but vigilance on behalf of open government is even more crucial during times like these, when the public has limited access. But government transparency is important at all times. Each year during Sunshine Week, Pioneer reviews some of its recent work to increase public accountability in Massachusetts government.
With as new animated video, Pioneer Institute aims to inform the public about barriers to accessing Massachusetts elected officials’ financial information.
Despite recent good news about declines in alcohol, traditional cigarette, and hard drug use among young people, it seems that retailers of these heavily regulated (or just plain illegal) substances aren’t going away any time soon. The number of Massachusetts bars and nightclubs - or, in the words of the Census Bureau, “places primarily engaged...
As we do each January, Pioneer shares the resolutions it hopes state leaders will adopt to bring government actions into better focus and invigorate our democracy with heightened public engagement.
New rankings from Pioneer Institute show that among the states that require financial disclosures of elected officials and other significant policy makers, Massachusetts is the least transparent.
A new addition to Pioneer Institute’s Mass Watch data tool suite, MassEconomix, provides time-series data on job and business growth for all of Massachusetts. Pioneer has partnered with the Business Dynamics Research Consortium (BDRC), which is housed at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Business and Entrepreneurship, to acquire an employment database known as “Your-economy Time Series”, or YTS. This database provides a year-by-year look at companies and jobs that have existed in the Commonwealth since 1997.
The Merit Rating Board’s recent adoption of a regular meeting schedule, and related resolutions, are important steps in light of that Board’s 1976 governing statute.