It hasn’t been too sun-shiny for those of us who believe that democracy requires direct access to our government’s paper trail. National Sunshine Week isn’t so much a celebration as it is a public awareness campaign of the benefits — both to the pocketbook and personal liberty– of open government. Public access to our federal, state and local governments’ decision making and machinations is essential to healthy, smooth functioning commerce, exposing fraud and ensuring that government is by and for the people. Democracy hasn’t been handed to us and we must agitate to keep it. So advocate for access to government records. Submit a state public records act (PRA) request today. File a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Then post a comment telling us what you did and the response you received.
The Associated Press site is a first stop information gathering point for listings of FOI organizations, state-by-state litigation, aids for filing FOIA requests and news on Sunshine Week.
Surprisingly, with all the ill informed commentary about privacy, Americans are highly concerned about the lack of transparency in their government. Most Americans are ignorant of organized attempts to shine light into the dark recesses of government. And only 30 percent have ever requested records from a government agency.
A new survey conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs on behalf of Sunshine Week shows that seven out of 10 Americans are concerned about government secrecy, and more than half think there’s not enough access to government records. Read the press release and survey
Pending federal legislation related to open government, privacy and access to records is summarized here.