Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sunshine Week Is Here , Public Online Information Act Is Here , Sunlight Foundation Is Here To Help

Happy Sunshine Week!

We have some very good news today in the fight to make government transparent and accountable.

Right now, I'm up on Capitol Hill with a lot of Sunlight's staff to announce the Public Online Information Act. This new legislation will require Executive Branch agencies to publish all publicly available information on the Internet in a timely fashion and in easy to use formats.

When we get this thing passed, it will represent a sea change for one very big part of government. Everything you need to know about the bill - including a great, short video - is here:

Put simply, government information is still way too hard to find, difficult to understand, expensive to obtain in a useable way, and often available in only a few locations. We need good information available online, 24/7, to hold our government officials accountable - and that's not even close to what we have right now.

It's the 21st century for crying out loud, and we expect to find just about any kind of information online at any time. I can book an airplane ticket from my laptop at 1 a.m. and I can check my latest credit card transactions, view the weather forecast, or get local traffic reports from my phone. I can even buy shoes off a website and have them delivered to my house less than 24 hours later.

However, if I want to look up most government information, I have to travel to Washington and view it on paper or on the screen of a bulky vintage computer in the basement office of a government building, open only on weekdays from 9 to 5. Or I have to file a formal request and wait for weeks or even months for a response - and this is for government information that is already required by law to be made available to the public! This can no longer be the way Washington operates.

The solution to this problem of government information access is, of course, the Internet, and today we're excited about introducing the Public Online Information Act as one big step in the right direction.

We also want to make clear that we couldn't have gotten to the point of introducing a bill like this without your public support.

Each of you has supported the Sunlight Foundation in some way since our founding 4 years ago - from making sure Congress reads their bills to looking up government earmarks in your spare time or tracking lobbying contributions - and we can't thank you enough.

We're going to continue to need all of you, plus tens of thousands more, to make sure legislation like the Public Online Information Act gets passed, and on Thursday, we're going to be announcing a national, non-partisan campaign that will help us do that.

We hope you'll join us. Stay tuned!

Sunlight Foundation CLICKHERE

Ellen Miller

Co-founder and Executive Director

Sunlight Foundation


TRIADWATCH would like all the readers to get involved this is very important for all of us to understand the way our government works and the more sunshine on government the more informed we are.

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1 comment:

diane said...

From the website of the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad

WHAT: This Friday, March 19, the League will co-host the 5th Annual Sunshine Week National Dialogue, Building Governmental Transparency. . . . . .

WHO: Speakers include a panel of transparency experts from inside and outside government who will discuss federal openness policies and opportunities for people to use government information to make a difference in their communities.

WHEN: Friday, March 19 from 12 - 2 PM (EST). . .

WHERE: The event will be held at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C. and available via webcast. For more information, visit