Editorial: Sunshine laws help answer big questions

Is Wisconsin tough on doctors who make big mistakes, costing people their lives? No.

Is soil at the former Royster-Clark plant on Madison’s East Side still contaminated? Yes.

Was a Waupun prison guard suspended for making a lynching joke about President Barack Obama? Yes. '

Was a UW-Madison football player really acting in self-defense — as the athletic department contended — during a fight last fall at his off-campus residence? No. (He actually threw the first punch.)


EDITORIAL: Montana lawmakers need to strengthen sunshine laws

Montana’s continued secrecy with information that should be released to the public is now threatening not only its citizens’ right to know, but also federal money intended to protect children.

As we’ve written in the past, many of the organizations that evaluate government transparency consistently rank Montana among the worst states in the nation. Continue…


Knoxville (TN) launches training on sunshine laws

Knoxville officials have begun offering training sessions for city board members after finding possible violations of the state’s sunshine laws.
The move stems from a public records request by the Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1ycCqPj) in relation to a proposed $9 million digital radio system being discussed by the Knox County E-911 Board of Directors. The newspaper reports the city gave it copies of emails that show some board members discussed the contract in private.


Editorial: Open government means just that

One of the big misunderstandings about Missouriís Sunshine Law is that somehow this testimony to transparency is a tool reserved solely to advance the interests of the media. Journalists do turn to the law regularly to uncover documents and to discover what goes on behind closed doors. But you can bet lawmakers were thinking more broadly about the interests of the public when this landmark measure was introduced in the General Assembly as Senate Bill 1 in 1973. This, after all, was the year of the Watergate hearings.