Open Government is Good Government

Blog - Kid in You, Blog post / Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Will we have sunshine this week after a long, gray winter?

Sunshine Week March 10-16 isn’t about weather. This week, we celebrate open government and open records.

James Madison, the father of our US Constitution, believed citizens should know what was going in a democratic government. That’s why we celebrate Sunshine Week at the same time as his birthday. Madison would be 268 years old on March 16 if he were still alive. He would be proud that his concept of an open government with divided powers still prospers.

Citizens, businesses and journalists all use these rules to protect against secret corruption and discrimination.

Since we, the people pay the bills for government, we have a right to attend meetings and look at records. Sunshine laws require open meetings and records so we can be good citizens and support wise decisions.

But most people don’t have time to attend every meeting, check court records or track police activity. They are busy with school, jobs and family activities.

That’s why journalists are your best friends. Their job is to attend meetings, check records and report on events. They search in dark corners and add up the missing dollars. Because of their hard work, real news is always at your fingertip in print newspapers, electronic news sites and television newscasts.

Watch a great cartoon about open government at

“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”

– Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born in Mississippi during the Civil War and became an early investigative reporter, educator and writer. She helped organize the NAACP.

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