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“Transparency” is government’s obligation to share information with citizens that is needed to make informed decisions and hold officials accountable for the conduct of the peoples’ business. Transparency exits on government website largely at the munificence of officials. The burden of negotiating complex and costly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) petitions rests squarely on the shoulders of citizens and journalists. Despite “sunshine’ laws and much pro-transparency rhetoric, information requests by journalists and citizens are routinely ignored, given the bureaucratic “slow roll” and discouraged by inflated price tags for staff time and copying. FOIA’s and official goodwill are insufficient in securing citizens and journalist’s information they need and have a right o review. Therefore, this act affirms that the government has a duty to affirmatively disclose certain information, in a timely manner, and to shift the burden from citizens and journalists to the state, to share all information necessary, so the citizens may hold their elected officials accountable.

Published: September 19, 2010

The American Legislative Exchange Council is America’s largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.