You have a right to know. This is Sunshine Week, a time to celebrate access to government and to remind officials that their records and meetings are your records and meetings.
Your tax dollars have funded government, and thus you have the right see what city, county, school, township, watershed, state and federal officials see. Nearly everything from court files to police reports to marriage licenses is available for your inspection. You have a right to attend public meetings, even the ones they want to call workshops or retreats so they can get out of the public view.
It’s not a perfect world. From lawmakers to bureaucrats to local leaders, not everyone grasps the concept of open government. Many simply want the public to trust that they are doing their jobs and to go away and leave them be. It is how big matters such as campaign finance or simple matters such as Albert Lea sewer rates can become so convoluted and difficult for the public to grasp — because the information is either limited or filtered or disputed.