Sunshine Laws

I see that Schwarzenegger is putting quite a bit of his weight behind government Sunshine Laws to mandate more transparency in government decision making. (See also here.) This really isn’t much of a partisan issue because both Democrats and Republicans seem to dislike broad sunshine laws. With respect to national government, I can think of quite a few secrets (mostly dealing with military or foreign policy issues) that need to be kept, but I can’t think of too many things which need to be secret in state decision-making. Both articles suggest that the legislature really wants to exempt itself from the laws, but that seems silly. What is the purpose in keeping their negotiations and such behind closed doors? I have yet to hear a really good argument against sunshine laws for state governments. Does anybody have one? It seems to me that accountability on the part of public servants is something which should be encouraged.

I also note that apparently California has fairly good sunshine laws on the books, but activist judges have made broad exemptions which have taken the teeth out of them.

Posted by Sebastian Holsclaw at December 1, 2003 3:51 AM