This week, March 11 -17, is Sunshine Week. This week and all the activities that are going on are a reminder that it is your right to know. Not a privilege. Not a favor bestowed by an all-knowing all-powerful government. It is your right.
It's time to review and move forward as Montgomery County becomes more transparent. And, for the Board of Education, what do we expect this year? What are our citizen asks? First of course, no more breaking the law! The Board needs to obey our Maryland Open Meeting Act. Second, we need Checkbook Online here in Montgomery County. The Miami-Dade County Public School system has checkbook online. To see what a transparent government looks like, go here. According to many, many statements by Board members and public employees at MCPS, we are 'data driven.' So, where are the data?
And heartfelt thanks to all the hard-working journalists who are in the trenches bringing to light what really goes on in Montgomery County Government.
Here are some events in our area in celebration of Sunshine Week. To see all the events go here.
Monday, March 12th.
The Office of Government Information Services hosts a special event at the weeklong display of the original Freedom of Information Act at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The event begins at 12:30 p.m. with remarks by Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, followed by OGIS Director Miriam Nisbet and others. Admission is free. For more information, see the OGIS website.
The U.S. Department of Justice will hold a celebration of Sunshine Week from 2-3 p.m. at the DOJ Great Hall, Washington, D.C. Attorney General Eric Holder will speak during the program, which also will feature examples of agency achievements in the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines issued during Sunshine Week three years ago. The event is open to the public, but registration is required. Visit the DOJ website for more information.
Tuesday, March 13th
The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on "The Freedom of Information Act: Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure Information and the Public's Right to Know" at 10:30 a.m. in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington. More information about the hearing, including a link to the webcast, is found on the Judiciary Committee website.
The American Society of News Editors will host a Twitter chat with open government experts from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Knight Foundation, Sunshine in Government Initiative, Openthegovernment.org, ProPublica, the First Amendment Center, the Project On Government Oversight, American University and the Office of Government Information Services. The 1-hour online discussion will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern using the hashtag #ASNEchat.