Lax enforcement, fees, hostility also erode public’s right to know
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, March 15, 2021 — The greatest threats to government transparency today are continued secrecy provisions added to state public record laws, particularly exemptions intended to protect personal privacy and police information. That’s according to open government advocates affiliated with the National Freedom of Information Coalition.
Other threats to transparency include the lack of adequate enforcement for agencies that violate open records laws, general hostility by government officials toward the laws, and exorbitant fees that prevent average citizens from accessing the records they are entitled to.
More details of the threats to transparency and the work of the National Freedom of Information Coalition members may be found in the newly published “States of Denial” report, available at nfoic.org.
• The NFOIC signed a joint letter to Kentucky senators, objecting to legislation that would, among other things, require state residency and the use of a standardized form to request public records. Read the letter at this link.
• The NFOIC is signing a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief for a case before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The brief will argue that third parties (in this case a chamber of commerce and business groups) should not be allowed to block disclosure of COVID-19 cases in businesses, and the brief emphasizes the public interest in releasing the data.
Thank you for your support of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and our member state organizations. In recognition of Sunshine Week, please consider a one-time gift to support our important cause. You may donate here.