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Sunshine Week

Pandemic redefines 'public' access to government meetings

A year after COVID-19 triggered government shutdowns and crowd limitations, more public bodies than ever are livestreaming their meetings for anyone to watch from a computer, television or smartphone. But in some cases, it's become harder for people to actually talk with their elected officials.... Read more»

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Guest opinion

Cuillier: Government secrecy is growing during coronavirus pandemic

One more casualty of the coronavirus pandemic: open government. Since the crisis began, local, state and federal officials throughout the United States have locked down information from the public. ... Read more»

McSally strips BP freedom of information loophole from border bill

Rep. Martha McSally pulled a provision that would have allowed CBP to evade FOIA laws from a border bill moving through Congress on Wednesday, after TucsonSentinel.com broke the news about the measure the previous day. No one has yet offered an explanation for the exemption being included in the bill in the first place.... Read more»1

From the editor

McSally bill may exempt Border Patrol from freedom of information laws

A hearing Wednesday may — inadvertently or on purpose — move forward a law, backed by Rep. McSally, that would exempt Customs and Border Protection from FOIA almost entirely, allowing the agency to keep records about its border enforcement activities under wraps. ... Read more»2

Analysis: Sunshine Week

Why freedom of information faces problems, and how experts say those can be solved

From the UA's David Cuillier and ASU's Eric Newton: People must be able to get facts from their government to make smart decisions and hold public officials accountable. Politicians from both parties agreed on this long ago when they first passed federal, state and local open government laws. But the things people build — be they bridges, roads or freedom of information laws — wear out without regular maintenance. That’s why Sunshine Week exists, to remind us that it takes effort to keep freedom working.... Read more»

Legislative roundup: Women, fake news and money

Wednesday was International Women’s Day and it was clear across the capitol who supported it and who didn’t. Some women across the world took the day to strike, wear red and blue, or not buy anything, while others kept their nose to the ground. Women packed both the House and Senate galleries.... Read more»

From the editor

Sentinel editor joins in pushing Obama on transparency — again

In my role as head of a national group of local indie publishers, I signed onto another letter to the Obama administration, urging changes to federal government policies that restrict reporters — and you — from learning what leaders and regulators are doing.... Read more»1

Analysis

UA prof to Congress: 'Tipping point' for freedom of information

"We have reached a tipping point – a crisis situation – when it comes to freedom of information in this country. We are frogs in the kettle of slowly heating water," the head of the UA Journalism School, David Cuillier, told Congress on Tuesday. "The law is broken. FOIA has been co-opted as a tool of secrecy, not transparency."... Read more»

Ex-Ally Miller staffer 'confesses' he was behind bizarre blog

Timothy DesJarlais, a staffer for Ally Miller who quit his post after becoming the focus of an ongoing investigation into a peculiar political website, the "Arizona Daily Herald," has now owned up to his lies — at least in part. After denials, diversions and a false crime report, he wrote a "confession" to Miller.... Read more»2

Ally Miller aide linked to imitation news website; alter ego posing as reporter

A communications aide for Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller has been linked to a pretend news site whose "editor" is using a false name. Timothy DesJarlais, who is also running for the Marana School Board, was apparently posting for the "Arizona Daily Herald" while being paid during public meetings.... Read more»4

Snowden to Skype in for UA's 'Conversation on Privacy'

Centennial Hall will host a powerhouse panel on privacy issues Friday, including a Skype appearance by Edward Snowden. Also appearing will be activist Noam Chomsky and Glenn Greenwald, a reporter who will also speak after a screening Thursday night at the Loft.... Read more»

UA j-school head presses White House on freedom on information

The director of the UA School of Journalism, David Cuillier, said a delegation representing more than 50 journalism and open government groups had a "good discussion" as they pushed the Obama administration on transparency at a meeting Tuesday. ... Read more»

Cap Times: Az legislators stonewall on releasing text messages

Arizona lawmakers are improperly redacting, delaying and denying the release of text messages they've used to conduct legislative business, in violation of state public records laws, the Arizona Capitol Times reported after a four-month investigation.... Read more»

Only 3 states score higher than D+ in Integrity probe; 11 flunk

Trouble in America's statehouses: secrecy, questionable ethics and conflicts of interest — These are among the practices illuminated by the State Integrity Investigation, which measured hundreds of variables to compile transparency and accountability grades for all 50 states. The results are nothing short of stunning. The best grade in the nation, which went to Alaska, is just a C. Only two others earned better than a D+; 11 states received failing grades.... Read more»

Editorial

Sentinel editor joins in pressing Obama on transparency

In my role as head of a national group of local indie publishers, I signed onto a letter to President Obama urging changes to federal government policies that restrict reporters — and you — from learning what leaders and regulators are doing.... Read more»

Sunshine Week commentary

World passing U.S. by in strength of FOI laws

Sunshine Week has helped foster government transparency in the United States during the past 10 years, but while we have focused inward at state and federal transparency the world has passed us by.... Read more»

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