The Sunshine Review announced that the State of California has received a “Sunny Award” for having one of the most effective government websites in the nation for promoting government transparency.  California was one of 39 state and local government websites out of 5,000 reviewed to earn an “A” for transparency and one of eight states to receive a Sunny Award.

In the evaluation, California earned high marks for an easy-to-navigate search function, and having publicly available the budget, financial audit reports, state contracts, state official contact information, state taxes, state ethics commission information, public records requests, and registered lobbyists listings and reports.

“Governor Schwarzenegger has been a strong advocate of open government and increasing transparency by making government information available to the public. The people of California have a right to know what they are getting for their money,” said Teri Takai, California’s Chief Information Officer. “We are making great progress in getting information out into the hands of the people.”

In April 2009, the Governor Schwarzenegger ordered all departments to make publicly available statement of economic interest forms and travel expense claims for the Governor’s Office, agency secretaries and undersecretaries and department directors. This executive order pushes state government to adhere to a higher level of transparency than required by law.

In June 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger required the posting of all audits on the website. He also required all state contracts valued at $5,000 or more to be posted online.

Sunshine Review, a nonprofit dedicated to state and local government transparency, analyzes websites annually during Sunshine Week (March 12-17) for information on budgets, meetings, elected and administrative officials, permits and zoning, audits, contracts, lobbying, public records, and taxes.

Since its inception, Sunshine Review has analyzed the websites of all 50 states, more than 3,140 counties, 805 cities, and 1,560 school districts.

See the full list of winners here: