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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunshine Week: The forecast is mostly cloudy

from The Huffington Post:
COLUMBIA, Mo. (from Ken Bunting, executive director at NFOIC) -- Heading into "Sunshine Week," many open government advocates across the country feel they have much more to bemoan than they have to celebrate.

Even if no court or attorney general ever chastises Wisconsin's Republican legislators for violating open meetings law notice requirements, the convoluted web of parliamentary rationalizations surrounding their vote last night is still beyond ordinary comprehension.

Meanwhile, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed into law a measure that now means that fewer than half of all U.S. state legislatures hold themselves to the same levels of transparency they prescribe for others.

Worse yet, open government laws in state after state, whether or not their reach goes to lawmakers themselves, are being damaged and weakened, with increasing frequency, by new exclusions, loopholes and crazy exemptions that promote more secrecy and a lot less transparency.

President Obama's openness pledge has garnered a lot of attention, with advocates questioning whether it was a false promise and whether his professed belief in transparency will ever make its way down through the vast federal bureaucracy.

But at the state and local levels, there has been little notice of an ongoing frontal assault on open, accessible government. When viewed comprehensibly and nationally, what has been happening in state legislatures all across the land has been downright scary.
Read the rest here.

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