Sunshine Week occurs each year in mid-March, coinciding with James Madison's birthday and National Freedom of Information Day on March 16.
It is a national initiative spearheaded by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open government and the dangers of excessive and unnecessary secrecy. It was established in March 2005, with funding from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation. During Sunshine Week, media organizations, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and other participants engage in public discussion on the importance of open government. The purpose of the week is to highlight the fact that "government functions best when it operates in the open."
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the right to request access to records from any federal agency. All states have since created some version of Sunshine Laws. In Ohio, Sunshine Laws come under the purview of the Attorney General and the office website contains the Manual of Laws and training for public officials which is free and open to the public. Ohio's Sunshine Laws cover both the Open Meetings Act and Public Records Act. Each public body creates their own policies that make them compliant with the Ohio Revised Code for Sunshine Laws.
LWV has long been a champion of government transparency since our founding in 1920. It is one of our core principles and a vital part of our mission. Its efforts in this area reinforce our reputation of fairness, nonpartisanship and trust. It serves as the foundation for League action in lobbying and advocacy.
Hudson's League has designed a local Observer program based on LWV resources and Ohio's Sunshine Laws. Our members are encouraged to take the Laws' training from the Attorney General's office. Our local program trains and mentors League members in regularly observing and reporting city, library and school district public meetings. Regular observation and reporting provides the League with knowledge of local issues and the ability to take timely action and it builds expertise in local government and serves the community by monitoring Sunshine Laws compliance.
LWVH's observations have shown that Hudson is fortunate to have local government that goes above and beyond basic Sunshine requirements. They have adopted many best practices that enhance transparency, accountability and citizen engagement. The LWVH website is a good resource for Sunshine Laws and League Observer Corps information. The group encourages all Hudson citizens to take Sunshine Laws training and interact regularly with all levels of government. Make your voices heard and preserve our right to know.