It’s Sunshine Week, also known as the week- long, nationwide celebration of access to public government information via Sunshine Laws.
Sunshine laws are those laws that secure government transparency. These laws are fundamental to self government. They provide empowerment to our people, accountability to our government employees, and build the public trust. Utah has two key laws to provide transparency:
- Government Records Access and Management Act, or GRAMA (Utah Code 63G-2-101(2008), et seq)
- Open and Public Meetings Act (Utah Code 52-4-101 (2006), et seq)
These laws highlight the legal balancing act between public access and accountability, and a citizen’s right to privacy and public safety. The overall intent is to ensure the public’s access to their government.
Every action of government is your business.
Every document held in government halls is your piece of paper.
Every penny spent by government is your money.
From the courthouse to the statehouse to the White House, government belongs to the governed and not the governing.
You have the right to know what the governing are up to, always.
We are self-governed.
(“It’s Your Right, It’s Your Business” by Jim Zachary, CNHI Regional Editor and Editor, The Valdosta Daily Times)
Here at the Utah State Archives, this can mean a few different things. Our Records Analyst team works with records officers to help with records management and create retention schedules. Our GRAMA Ombudsman, Rosemary Cundiff, assists records officers when they need to respond to a public records request or appeal. She also mediates appeal disputes when necessary. Our Records Processing staff works to preserve and adequately describe records to improve future access. Finally, our Research Center works with the public to provide appropriate access to historical government records in our custody.
This week we will be posting in tandem with our Records Analyst team (RecordsKeepers.blog) to highlight the ways we work to “Let the Light In” here at the Utah State Archives.