There's been lots of coverage in the local media of Sunshine Week so far, too much to list it all here. But here are some highlights:
An editorial from The Jackson Sun about proposed changes to the state's open government laws: For too long, public officials have been able to play fast and loose with the rules and deny the public access to important information. If we'd like to see anything more this year, it would be for language to be added to the law which would specifically open up e-mail records to public inspection. On the open meetings front, we'd like to see meetings where school superintendents' evaluations are discussed remain open. And we'd like to finally see substantial penalties adopted for those who knowingly choose to flout the law.
An editorial from The Commercial Appeal: Under Mayor Willie Herenton, Commercial Appeal reporter Trevor Aaronson reports in today's editions, access to public documents is a snap for those with political or business connections to city government. Requests for documents from the general public and the press, however, are met with a formal process that routes everything through a bottleneck at the City Attorney's Office and delays the flow.
An excerpt of an interview with John Seigenthaler in Sunday's Tennessean: People want to know and, indeed, need to know. When people talk to me about, "Is there a people's right to know?" — there is a people's need to know. And that need really cries out for openness in government.