Join Patch for Sunshine Week 2012 as we celebrate, converse, comment, debate and educate about the importance of open government and the public’s right to know what government is doing and why.
This year Sunshine Week is co-sponsored by ASNE and the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press and many other media industry partners, including Patch. The goal is to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in government transparency. The week is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami, along with the ASNE Foundation, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others.
There are key state laws that govern access to public records and public meetings. The go-to site in New York is the Committee on Open Government, which includes info on how to file a freedom of information law (FOIL) request and has an archive of advisory opinions and an FAQ to get you started.
To help Patch spread a little sunshine around town, you or your group may want to consider adopting Sunshine Week.org’s Open Government Proclamation:
Since Sunshine Week was launched in 2005, many city and state officials have recognized and committed to open government through official proclamations. Some have also held hearings on open government issues or scheduled special events such as open government training sessions for public employees and the launching of a special webpage.
To mark Sunshine Week 2012, we urge citizens and civic organizations across the country to again press state and local officials to find meaningful ways to participate in Sunshine Week to demonstrate that they, too, are committed to true transparency in government.
One way this can be done is by adopting a meaningful open government proclamation that pledges specific steps to enhance the public’s right to know.
Proclamations can be more than just statements of general support. They can also address and pledge action on specific open government concerns and shortcomings that you, your organization and/or the officials themselves have identified.
Toward that goal, the sponsors of Sunshine Week offer this model proclamation. It begins with a generalized statement of support for government in the sunshine, followed by a sampling of open government provisions that have resulted in increased transparency in local and state governments around the country.
If your city, county, school board or state government does something special to recognize Sunshine Week, please let us know. We'd also like electronic copies of any proclamations and other materials to share on the website. You, or the officials, can send them to email@example.com.
Here is a link to the Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation PDF: