Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Sunshine Week

Happy Sunshine Week.

The annual freedom of information consciousness-raising effort ("celebration of" seems a little strong) begins today.

There will be many pontifications and examples proffered. I would recommend you stop by the Open Records Blog (and more often than just this week) for a full display of the output. WikiFOIA is also an excellent place to check.

I also appear to have made my own contribution -- although unintentionally, given that I neglected to mark this on my calendar -- with my Common Sense Journalism column about "The Problem of Raw Data Online."

The week opens with a survey from Scripps Howard and Ohio University:

Nearly nine in 10 Americans say it's important to know presidential and congressional candidates' positions on open government, but three out of four view the federal government as secretive, according to a survey released Sunday.
Yeah, but I suspect this is more a case of people's answering a question they hadn't really thought about (when was the last time you heard a campaign-trail question about FOI) and, besides, while the fed FOI is important, it's at the state level that many of the more important battles are being waged.

For example, Sunshine Blogger, through WikiFOIA, recently asked people to see how responsive their governor's office would be to a request for five days of the governor's e-mails. The result in South Carolina: A bill for $1,169.88 from Gov, Mark Sanford's office. Ridiculous.

(Here's the entire state-by-state list, at least as much as WikiFOIA had been able to compile as of now, and some other updates from the Open Records Blog.)

So, happy Sunshine Week. Let's see what we can do to change it into a Sunshine Year.

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