Northwest Iowa — This is “Sunshine Week”, and no, that has nothing to do with the weather. “Sunshine Week” is a celebration of the public’s right to access information. The Iowa Freedom of Information Council is reminding lawmakers of the importance of government transparency.
Randy Evans, who heads the council, says Iowans should know their right to information and remind government officials that they work for the people.
Evans says a bright spot for government accessibility is the Iowa Public Information Board, which was created by the legislature in 2012. This board allows citizens to address concerns about open meetings and records laws, without hiring a lawyer. Evans is using the week to remind public officials, from the city and county, all the way to the state level, that a higher level of transparency is part of the territory that comes with holding elected office.
Evans adds, it’s the public’s responsibility to keep itself informed. He says the best time for people to get involved is not when an important matter is at stake, but rather by staying engaged with local issues.