Hidden Treasure: Tapping Officials’ Secrets

Image from ombwatch.org

Interested in open government law and practice?  Curious about the rights of reporters and other citizens to see government information and be allowed to attend meetings at both the state and local level?  Check out the freely available Open Government Guide, published by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Written in a standard outline format by volunteer attorneys, easily navigated through a tree on the left with content displaying on your main screen, this resource serves as a comprehensive guide to open government law and practice in each and every one of our fifty states as well as the District of Columbia – the standardized format makes it not only user-friendly, but also lends itself well to making comparisons across state lines.

Image from govfresh.com

Initial users of this compendium, begun in 1989, were primarily journalists, but recently both lawyers and citizens have been exploring its pages.  Here’s the basics on usage:

–          Every state section is based on the same standard outline featuring two parts: “Access to Records” and “Access to Meetings”

–          You have the option of browsing through an outline for a particular state, performing a full-text search of all 50 states or comparing one outline point across multiple states.

–          Once inside the guide, use the Table of Contents on the left.  Each outline will begin by describing the general structure of that particular state’s laws and then go into detailed topical listings.

–          Outline points that appear in BOLD are part of the standard outline, while those in ITALICS are specific to that particular state.

–          Whenever you need to consult statutes, you’ll find the complete text of the relevant portions at the end of each outline.

Have fun exploring this resource!

~Ashley Moye~

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Filed under electronic resources, Hidden Treasures, Library, Of Interest to Law Students, Websites

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