It’s easy during Sunshine Week, the national effort to promote awareness of open-government issues, to feel exasperated by the many recent and ongoing attempts to shield public information from public view.
State lawmakers tried to kill a program that helps citizens resolve FOI disputes. States are keeping secret their execution protocols. A police chief prohibited a citizen from photographing public records as he reviewed them. The list is long, and I even wrote in January that government secrecy was the most serious threat last year to a free press in the US.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There is also cause for celebration this week—bright spots around the country where people are using FOI laws to great effect, where smart-minded FOI bills are being passed or introduced, and where judges and other public officials are breathing life into the right to know.
So, instead of focusing on the clouds over Sunshine Week, as I’ve done in the past, I want to take stock of some FOI success stories that show the importance of toiling in these vineyards, of working to ensure that government remains open. Continue…