Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shine On

Celebrating Sunshine Week, an annual observance of the public's right to know what our government's up to.

Why should you care about access to government information? The introduction to the Texas Public Information Act answers that question:
... The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
In other words, we give the government power to enforce laws, levy taxes and so on. But that government is made up of individuals who must remain accountable to the rest of us.

The Legislature encourages this accountability with a law from last session. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who enforces open government laws in the Lone Star State, praises local and state officials complying with this requirement for public employees to undergo open government training.

Hopefully this will cut down on some of the delays members of the public encounter when seeking public documents. Remember, they work for us.


Blogger JB said...

So what legislation has been passed on open government and training given to governments? Legislation has been passed requiring police officers to "protect and serve." But you do not have a right to demand they slavishly rescue ever scared kitty stuck up in a tree.

Clearly this is an issue near and dear to your heart, Mack. Not dear as a public citizen, but as a journalist cum law student cum journalist, you certainly do have some background on this. Nobody's denying your right to records. You, however, are denying the right of government to work free from obvious harassment. If you do not respect the jobs of public servants, how can you expect them to react slavishly to your demands? No wonder some have become jaded to the point where they "let you wait." (An illegal maneauver, I'm sure, but you'll get your paperwork.)

2:18 PM  

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