Over the last few months, we've watched a disturbing trend of states across the country rolling back transparency legislation and clouding the ability of the public to see what their government and its officials are doing.
Governors play a big role in these issues, either because they're directly involved in obscuring information from the public or because they have the power of veto - to stop these rollbacks and reflect the openness we want from government.
Call your governor and ask him or her to commit to making sure that government information that should be public is truly public -- that it’s put online in real time.
Public information should be free, open and easily accessible to the public. Fees and exemptions for government officials contradict these principles -- impacting not just the media, but concerned citizens as well.
Some examples of governors rolling back these sort of transparency laws include....
...the violation of open meetings laws, as in Wisconsin
...creating exemptions for themselves from public records requests, as the Governor of Washington did
...exempting themselves from personal financial disclosure laws, like the Governor of Tennessee
...charging for public documents, creating barriers to the public trying to get access to their own information, which happened in Florida
...and like Utah, allowing legislation that would seriously impair the Freedom of Information of the state to be made law, until activists pushed back
I want to make sure that these sort of transparency issues get addressed before it’s too late.
Transparency is essential to a healthy democracy.
This issue isn’t just important to me, but to my whole community, and I will be following progress on transparency legislation this year.