When Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and members of the state’s House of Representatives recently demanded that records relating to one of the biggest and most publicized loan investigations in the state be made public, it was an early Sunshine Week gift for the public and especially for advocates of open government.
The 38 Studios case had been in the news for close to seven years and was costing taxpayers $75 million in loan payments. However, open government advocates railed against the continued closure of the investigation into the case, and apparently both the governor and state legislators were listening, which isn’t always the case.
The House recently passed a bill that would make all records, including grand jury documents, open to the public. The Senate is expected to pass a similar bill. Members of the House said the bill “sends a message to the public that no one is trying to hide anything.” About the same time, Gov. Raimondo announced that she plans to ask the court to release all documents gathered during the investigation.