Megan Rhyne column: Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act helps keep government records accessible, officials accountable

Richmond Times-Dispatch by Megan Rhyne

March 10, 2018

When I get together with my counterparts in other states — such as the Florida First Amendment Foundation, Open Oregon, the New England First Amendment Coalition, or the Ohio Coalition for Open Government — I often imagine us as residents of a nursing home sharing our ailments. We nod and tsk-tsk as we exchange tales of the latest abuse of our open government laws.

There’s a bit of one-upmanship going on here. Just as it can be a competition as to who has the worst ailment, access advocates relate horror stories with an expectation that everyone else will agree that his or her state must be the absolute worst: Our law has the most exemptions; our state has the most problems; or, our violations are the most egregious.

I’m sure we all believe ours is the worst because we all have a baseline of what we expect of our government officials and employees. We become acclimated to what our law or our public servants do right so that when they do wrong, it seems all the more unacceptable. What may be foundational on one point in one state may be a current battle in another, and the roles could easily be reversed on a different point. [READ MORE]

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