Sunshine in Florida isn't the only thing we have in common with Sunshine Week!
Did you know that Sunshine Week was established by The American Society of News Editors back in 2005? They chose this particular week because it coincided with President James Madison’s birthday. He was a major contributor for the U.S. Bill of rights and a champion of our government’s checks and balances.
Sunshine Week is a nationally recognized initiative intended to encourage conversation about the importance of government transparency and freedom of information.
Not only is this right a cornerstone of our democracy, but it’s important to recognize that our citizens’ experience to easily access public records is a key ingredient to delivering open data and customer service on point.
Just before FOIA’s 50th anniversary, on July 4 of 2016, The FOIA Improvement Act was signed into law and it was intended to reform and improve the public’s access to data. It was the pinnacle of FOIA reformation that open government advocates fought to achieve for years.
A few of the notable requirements that became effective on June 30, 2016, from the passing of this bill are the following:
- Require the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to ensure the operation of a consolidated online request portal that allows a member of the public to submit a request for records to any agency from a single website. (Public Law No. 114-185, Sec. 2)
- Require agencies to make available for inspection in an electronic format records that have been requested three or more times (frequently requested records). (Public Law No. 114-185, Sec. 2)
- The program for the efficient management of federal agency records is expanded to require agency heads to establish procedures for: (1) Identifying records of general interest or use to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and (2) posting such records in a publicly-accessible electronic format. (Public Law No. 114-185, Sec. 4)
At MCCi we have been working with public sector clients for over 20 years. Collaboration with our customers over the past few years lead us to develop a FOIA solution that would help process their public records requests and we named it JustFOIA. You can learn more about how our software helped the City of Naples improve its transparency rating to an A+. Knowing that the majority of our clients also use Laserfiche as their document repository, we developed an integration with Laserfiche for JustFOIA – so now you have the freedom to easily access your public data to share with your citizens too!