What’s Sunshine Week, you ask?
The journalism associations behind the mid-March event describe Sunshine Week as “a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.” Sunshine is shorthand for the open-meetings and open-records laws that guarantee a governing body is operating in the open.
Last week the Alabama Senate did its part, passing a strengthened version of the state’s Open Meetings Act. Why was it necessary? Because in recent rulings the state Supreme Court weakened the act in key provisions. The bill would reinstate provisions that (a.) make sure open-meeting rules apply to the Legislature, (b.) allow residents to sue governments for violations of the law, and (c.) deny a few members of elected bodies to meet secretly to discuss the public’s business, a technique known as “serial meetings.”
A news release from the Alabama Press Association singled out sponsor Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, and Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, “for their leadership in getting this through the Senate.” Continue>>>