Editorial: Sunshine grades

The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction): Every year in March the American Society of Newspaper Editors promotes Sunshine Week, reminding everyone that government business is supposed to be conducted in the open.

Laws that require governmental entities and public officials to be transparent are called sunshine laws. They establish an important expectation: that any and all information related to government is available for public scrutiny unless it meets specific exceptions.

The idea is that when it comes to the people’s business, no one should be kept in the dark. Sunshine laws exist so that anyone — not just the media — can know exactly what elected officials, heads of public agencies, government employees and the institutions themselves are up to.

In the spirit of Sunshine Week, we offer our annual assessment of how well local agencies let the sun shine on their actions and if they’ve run afoul of open-meetings and open-records laws.

Law enforcement agencies

The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office — The gold standard for local transparency. If only every local government agency operated in a similar manner …

Former District Attorney Pete Hauztinger set the bar for this agency. The fact that his mother was an editorial writer for the Denver Post no doubt informed his appreciation for an informed citizenry and the media’s role as government watchdog.

Visit The Daily Sentinel for more.

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