Sunlight Weekly Round-up: Louisiana governor to become subject to public records law

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As mentioned earlier, the open government movement made major strides today — when together with the Participatory Politics Foundation, we launched OpenGovernment Minnesota. This brings the total number of states covered by the OpenGovernment initiative, to six. As we continue to expand this project to include more states, we take note of individual citizens who are being proactive about tracking the legislature in their states. By so doing, we recognize that active citizen participation in government is the key to prompting change and increasing accountability. And we support this recognition by building tools that empower the public to see how their government is functioning. But our role can not simply be reduced to tracking bills. We need to be engaged in the rule making process and reinforcing Public Records Laws and Open Meetings Laws is one such way of doing that. All the while ensuring that the legislative system is not given “special treatment”.

  • Two years ago, the legislature in Bacon Hill, Massachusetts managed to exempt itself from  the requirements of the Public Records Law and the Open Meetings Law — using a sweeping ethics reform bill. Now, there are four bills that have been introduced to subject the legislature to the open meetings law. Media and technology lawyer Robert Ambrogi, is challenging the lawmakers to pass these laws if they are true supporters of transparency. Will these bills see the light of day, unlike their predecessors that went no where? Read more on the media law blog.

 

  • A new bill that will make all executive orders issued by the office of the mayor of New York City available on line, has been passed. Currently, the orders can only be accessed via requests through the Freedom of Information Law. Richard Yeh shares that open government advocates are applauding the bill because of the transparency and openness it will create. Legislative text from the bill shows that all memorandum of understanding and similar documents will be available on a government website starting April 1, 2012. See what else the bill says on the WNYC News blog.
  • Public information from the governor’s office in Louisiana will soon be accessible to the public. A new bill that will significantly relax the state’s public records law by making all of the Governor’s documents including those related to budgetary issues, public, has been introduced. At the moment, the state is using Act 495 enacted in 2009, which exempts the governor from disclosing any material considered to be under a “deliberative process”. Chad Rogers is sure this bill will go a long way in restoring confidence in the public. Read more about how the bill will change Louisiana from being the only state that exempts the governor’s records from disclosure on chadrogers.net
  • The Cleveland Coalition, together with several open government supporters including the Sunlight Foundation, will be joining forces for the Transparency Action Plan Summit (TAP) to take place in Cuyahoga Ohio on July 29-30. The first of its kind in the region, the summit will bring together like-minds to discuss transparency initiatives that will make the county a leader in government transparency and public engagement. For more of the action plan details, head on over to Cleveland Coalition.

 

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