Policy and News Updates for August 25, 2009


News from Coalition Partners & Others

I. Join OpenTheGovernment.org at Congress Camp

II. Secrecy and Openness Report Card Coming Soon

III. @OpenTheGov: News to Use

IV. NARA Asks for Public Opinion on Online Access
 

News from Coalition Partners & Others

 

POGO Awarded National Sunshine Award by the Society of Professional Journalists

On August 29, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), will award the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) with its national Sunshine Award. The award recognizes POGO’s contribution to open government through the organization’s investigations into the Department of Interior’s failure to collect oil and gas royalties; the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, which tracks civil, criminal, and administrative misconduct by the federal government’s top contractors; and its work uncovering wasteful spending in the Air Force.

 

Partners Sign-on to Keep Public Speeches on the Record

Several coalition partners, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Society of Professional Journalists signed on to a Memo, organized by the Sunshine in Government Initiative, to Press Secretaries of Congress and the Executive Branch. The memo addresses the problems created for journalists when officials offer off-the-record comments at public meetings and asks that government officials, including congressional staff members and federal agency representatives, start treating their comments at widely attended events as on the record.

 

Common Cause Celebrates Anniversary

Common Cause celebrated its 39th anniversary on August 18. After nearly four decades, the organization continues to work to help citizens participate in the revitalization of politics and government by acting as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

 

2009 First Amendment Foundation Sunshine Seminars

The First Amendment Foundation announced dates for one day training session on Florida’s public records and public meetings requirements. All attendees also receive a Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual, which contains the most current Florida public records and public meetings law information. Seminar date and locations are: Niceville – Sept 16; Tallahassee – Sept 18; Lake City – Sept 22; Orlando – Sept 24; Ft. Lauderdale – Sept 29; and St. Petersburg – Oct 2. Download the registration form here. 09 Seminar Back.pdf

 

Washington Coalition for Open Government Publishes Candidate Survey Responses

The Washington Coalition for Open Government (WCOG) has posted candidate responses to the organization’s Open Government Questionnaire. WCOG surveyed candidates for offices across the state for their position on 6 key government reform issues, including recording of executive sessions of public agencies, and requirement of open government training for government employees and elected officials.

 

I. Join OpenTheGovernment.org at Congress Camp

Join OpenTheGovernment.org on September 12 – 13 at CongressCamp, an "unconference" focused on the "Congress" side of Gov 2.0 and how web-based social and collaboration technologies are being used, or could be used, to transform engagement with the public. Learn more about the event and keep up with the latest developments by visiting the event’s facebook page and by following on twitter. Congressional staffers, tech and social media entrepreneurs, advocacy leaders, and interested citizens are welcome! Reserve your spot here.

 

II. Secrecy and Openness Report Card Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for OpenTheGovernment.org’s 2009 Secrecy Report Card. This year’s report tracks secrecy indicators across the federal government in the final year of the Bush-Cheney Administration, and provides a 6-month overview of the Obama Administration’s promises, policy and practice on openness and transparency. The 2009 edition also includes a special section on financial transparency in the Treasury Department’s bailout of financial institutions and in the federal stimulus program. The report will be out in early September.

 

III. @OpenTheGov: News to Use

Sign up today to follow OpenTheGovernment.org on twitter! We will use @OpenTheGov to lead you to the latest news, reports, and events about government openness and secrecy. We will also let you know about important coalition actions like when OpenTheGovernment.org is circulating sign-on letters and releasing new reports.

 

IV. NARA Asks for Public Opinion on Online Access

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has launched NARAtions, an online forum to gather input about online public access to the records held by NARA. The Archives plans to periodically post questions related to online access and historical research in general and encourage researchers and interested members of the public to share their opinions and ideas. The blog will also be used to post news items about descriptions or digitized archival materials available online. Suggestions for questions to be posted on the blog can be sent to socialmedia@nara.gov.

 

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