WXYZ Editorial: Sunshine Week 2018; participate in your right to know!

WXYZ Detroit - Michigan, get ready for Sunshine Week 2018. There’s still plenty of time to prepare and participate. From March 11 – 17, the nation will celebrate access to public information.

Sunshine Week began in 2005 and has grown into an annual initiative marking the importance of open government and denouncing excessive secrecy.

The bedrock to the public’s right to know is the Federal Freedom of Information Act. Like most states, Michigan has its own set of FOIA laws. But over the years, these laws have been weakened by unnecessary obstacles. The Center for Public Integrity says Michigan lags behind the rest of the nation in transparency. Why? Because of its broad FOIA exemptions for the state’s executive and legislative branches of government. Bi-partisan bills to expand the open record laws passed the House the last two years but are now stalled in the Senate!

There are actions you can take to help move the process and make Sunshine Week relevant. Civic groups can organize informational forums. Educators can teach students about how government is supposed to work to improve our lives and communities. Elected officials can introduce resolutions and legislation supporting existing open record laws. And private citizens can write letters and use social media to let their lawmakers and friends know they support government transparency.

Here at Channel 7, the Freedom of Information Act helped our investigative team reveal recent stories dealing with group home guardianship cases, funeral home abuses and settlement agreements between the Detroit Police and Fire Pension System.

Let’s use Sunshine Week to remind us of the importance of open government.

I’m Mike Murri, Vice President & General Manager

March 1 - 4, 2018

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