March 12-18 is National Sunshine Week, an initiative by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to discuss the importance of government transparency.
The idea behind public records laws -- heck, the idea behind democracy itself -- is that government is accountable to the people and its actions should be open to scrutiny.
The national Freedom of Information Act, which governs the release of documents from federal agencies, has nine exemptions.
By contrast, in Oregon, where our governor from Minnesota yaks on about the importance of transparency, there are hundreds of exemptions; around 600, at last count. Democrat legislators keep adding more, so it's hard to say. There are also no timelines for compliance with a FOIA request, so agencies can drag their feet for months before coughing up the materials requested. And they do. When they finally get around to complying, they charge recipients through the nose for no particular reason other than that they can; asked recently for medical records related to the elephants at Oregon Zoo, Metro demanded several thousand dollars for them, despite the fact that they're all digitized and thus quickly recoverable.
The latest? House Bill 2326, introduced at the request of Gov. Kate Brown, would make private the names of veterinarians who are fined by the Oregon State Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
For all her talk of transparency, here's Brown endorsing the idea that you have no right to know when your vet screws up.
Not only should that list be public, it should be part of an online searchable database. In Washington State you can easily look up your vet's license and whether they've had any "enforcement action."
Oregon Democratics talk about transparency all the time, even as they work hard to eliminate it.