Policy and News Update for January 23, 2012

In This Issue:

News from Coalition Partners & Others
I. Agencies Seek Public Input on Open Gov Plan Refresh
II. Sunshine Week National Webcast Scheduled for March 16


News from Coalition Partners & Others

Sunlight Announces Dates for TransparencyCamp 2012

The Sunlight Foundation recently announced that TransparencyCamp 2012 will be held on April 28 – 29 at Founder's Hall, George Mason University. TransparencyCamp is an "unconference" that brings people together to share their knowledge about how to use new technologies and policies to make our government really work for the people — and to help our people work smarter with our government.

ASNE and Reporters Committee Seek Local Heroes

The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) are seeking nominations for Local Heroes— people who are making a difference in their communities by utilizing information gleaned from the freedom of information laws in their cities, states and the federal government. The 2012 Local Hero winner will be honored at the 2012 ASNE annual convention in Washington, D.C. April 2-4. Nominations are due by February 20.

I. Agencies Seek Public Input on Open Gov Plan Refresh

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Transportation (DOT) invited the public to weigh in on "Version 2" of their Open Government Plans. The Obama Administration's Open Government Directive requires agencies use feedback from the general feedback and open government experts to create its plan, and requires agencies to update the plan every two years. New plans should be posted by all agencies by April 7.


As we told FierceGovernment IT, implementation of the plans over the past two years has been notably inconsistent. Some agencies are faithfully meeting their commitments; other agencies are not. The plans are intended to help agencies make openness, participation, and collaboration a regular part of the way they operate. If agencies do not actually follow the plans, developing a plan is little more than a box the agency must check every couple of years.

The Obama Administration has recently taken new interest in making sure agencies are following through on their plans. The Administration included monitoring the implementation of agency open government plans as one of the 26 commitments it made in the National Action Plan. We look forward to working with agencies to make sure Version 2 of their Open Government Plans reflect the public's priorities and working with the Administration to make sure agencies follow through on their plans.


II. Sunshine Week National Webcast Scheduled for March 16

OpenTheGovernment.org's Seventh Annual Sunshine Week National Webcast will be broadcast on Friday, March 16, from 1 – 3 pm. This year's webcast will be a part of the Freedom Forum's 14th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC).

In addition to the webcast and morning panels and speakers, the day's events will include the announcement by the American Library Association of its annual James Madison Award recipient. The award, which was presented to OpenTheGovernment.org's Executive Director, Patrice McDermott, last year, is given to an individual or group that has championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know. Also featured will be inductions into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, honoring those who have made significant contributions to protecting and expanding access to government information.

Learn more about the event and register for a seat here.

The event caps off Sunshine Week 2012. Sunshine Week is a weeklong celebration sponsored by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) to promote a dialogue about the importance of the public's right to know what its government is doing, and why.






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