Initiative seeks to improve Oregon's open government laws
Attorney General John Kroger today announced a broad plan to improve government transparency in Oregon.
"A democracy cannot properly function without strong open government laws," said Attorney General Kroger. "We've implemented some immediate reforms that will improve transparency in state government. But I'm also committed to far greater changes."
Immediate changes include:
Putting the 2008 Attorney General's Manual on Public Records and Public Meetings online. Until now, the manual has been exclusively available in a hard copy at a cost of $25. Free online access will significantly increase its usefulness.
The Oregon Department of Justice web site now includes a Citizen's Guide to Public Records and Public Meetings. The guide is designed for citizens who need a quick and easy understanding of Oregon's open government laws.
A new online Public Records Request Form is also now available. Previously, public records request forms needed to be printed out and mailed or faxed. The form is designed for requesting records from the Department of Justice.
Attorney General Kroger also has created the Government Transparency Counsel, a new position in the Department of Justice designed to ensure that state government properly complies with state transparency laws.
The next step is a systematic review of Oregon's open government laws to identify weak points and suggest improvements for the 2011 Legislature. This effort requires input from the public, the media and government officials. To that end, Attorney General Kroger will conduct meetings around the state that will be co-sponsored by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers' Association. A tentative schedule is as follows:
February 24 - Salem
March 31 - Portland
April 29 - Bend
May 5 - Eugene
May 13 - Pendleton
June 10 - Medford
Meeting times and locations have not yet been set. Dates may change. Please sign up here for updates, to testify or to make suggestions for improving government transparency.
"Public scrutiny helps ensure that government spends tax dollars wisely," Attorney General Kroger said. "Government is most accountable to the public when the public has easy access to its inner workings."
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org