Sunshine Week Action: Your Right-to-Know

Thank you for visiting Sunshine Week Action: Your Right To Know. At the end of the “Closed Doors; Open Democracies?” program, Gary Bass, Director of OMB Watch, offered three things we can all do to have less secrecy and more democracy:

1. Visit the OpenTheGovernment.org coalition website and get involved: You can learn about our co-sponsors and take action below.
2. Get others involved: Talk to at least five people about the “Closed Doors; Open Democracies?” event and the themes of Sunshine Week- and get each of the five people to join the OpenTheGovernment.org coalition.
3. Begin the dialogue about a 21st century right to know agenda: Send us the top one or two things you would change to improve public access today: Send your one or two ideas to yourRTK@openthegovernment.org

OpenTheGovernment.org
Concerned that our government keeps from the American public information that we need to make our families safe, secure our country and strengthen democracy, a broad-based set of organizations formed OpenTheGovernment.org. We hope you’ll help.

OpenTheGovernment.org’s participation was made possible by the generosity of our funders:

Angelina Fund
Educational Foundation of America
HKH Foundation
Knight Foundation
Open Society Institute
Philanthropic Venture Fund
Warsh-Mott Legacy

Co-Sponsors

Union of Concerned Scientists
We are mobilizing scientists and citizens alike to push for reforms that will protect our health, safety, and environment from an unprecedented level of political interference in government science.

You can Take Action to Defend the Integrity of Science!

  • If you are a Scientist, sign the scientist sign-on statement. Join 11,000 of your scientist colleagues opposed to the misuse of government science.
  • If you are a non-scientist, sign our Citizens’ call to action.
    Encourage our nation’s policy makers to preserve the core values of science and science-based decision making.

  • Call the EPA:
    The Environmental Protection Agency has begun closing its nationwide network of scientific libraries, effectively preventing EPA scientists and the public from accessing vast amounts of data and information on issues from toxicology to pollution. Several libraries have already been dismantled, with their contents either destroyed or shipped to repositories where they are uncataloged and inaccessible.
    Click here to take action and to more learn about the EPA Libraries.

National Coalition Against Censorship
National Coalition Against Censorship is committed to examining the clash between First Amendment principles of free expression and government suppression of scientific information and to ensuring that the “marketplace of ideas” remains robust by preserving both our nation’s scientists and the general public’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech, thought and inquiry. Please review our recently issued ‘Joint Statement on Censorship and Science: A Threat to Science, the Constitution, and Democracy,’ as an example of a way you can get involved by contacting members of Congress who are investigating these issues.”

  • Joint Statement issued in the wake of the House hearings on suppression of climate scientists


The League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters has worked for decades to engage and inform people about the importance of openness in government. In recent years, the national League has continued this commitment by publishing the “Looking for Sunshine” toolkit and co-sponsoring this national Sunshine Week kick-off event. Local Leagues throughout the country work to engage the public by holding community forums and workshops. Read more about our Openness in Government Activities here!

Contact your local League to:

  • Participate in community forums on openness in government
  • Follow developments at the local government level
  • Meet with local newspaper editorial board(s) to discuss support for open government and encourage them to do an editorial
  • Work with local schools to draw attention to this topic
  • Advocate for tougher transparency and better implementation of openness laws at the state and local level.


Association of Research Libraries


A primary goal of the Public Policies program is to influence legislative action that is favorable to the research library and higher education communities. To achieve this goal, the program helps ARL members keep abreast of the legislative landscape, as well as rapidly changing issues, players, regulations, and community priorities.

For further information on the Association of Research Libraries’ Public Policies program and topics such as:

  • Know Your Copy Rights: Using Copyrighted Works in Academic Settings
  • Issue Brief: AAP PR Campaign against Open Access and Public Access to Federally Funded Research
  • To Stand the Test of Time: Long-term Stewardship of Digital Data Sets in Science and Engineering

Visit ARL’s Public Policies page

American Library Association (ALA)
As the oldest and largest library association in the world, the ALA supports legislative and policy proposals that facilitate equal, ready, and fair access to information collected, compiled, produced, funded and/or disseminated by the government of the United States, as well as Community Right-to-Know, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and related access issues.

-Visit ALA’s Legislative Action Center

  • See what library-related legislation is happening right now
  • Send a fax to Congress

– Take a look at ALA’s EPA Library Closings website

  • Read ALA President Leslie Burger’s testimony before Congress (with photos)
  • View articles from numerous major news publications on the issue

-Read the ALA Washington Office’s blog District Dispatch

  • Get the latest on important library news from inside the Beltway
  • Listen to the District Dispatch Podcast

American Association of Law Libraries

Our grassroots efforts focus on making government more open and accountable, including by enhancing public access to official and authentic legal information through the Web.

You Can Become a Successful Grassroots Activist!
EPA Libraries: Senate and House oversight committees have been busy this past month holding hearings on rollbacks at the EPA, including last year’s closure of three regional EPA libraries, and the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) library and headquarters library in DC. Call members of your congressional delegation and urge them to investigate these closures and their impact on public access to important scientific, environmental and legal government information crucial to our safety and well-being.

Panelists:
Mark Tapscott is a member of the National Freedom of Information Hall of Fame and has been working on transparency issues for more than a decade.

Rick Piltz is the Director of Climate Science Watch, a program of the Government Accountability Project in Washington, DC.