Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Good News from Open Up Oregon

FileImage by amy allcock via Flickr

Professor Bill Harbaugh down at U of O sends the following about an initiative that might have a substantial positive effect in Salem if pursued seriously. The state tends to set the standard for open government measures -- municipalities, particularly the City of Salem, find it hard not to follow good practices the state uses.
Dear Friends:

I just had a conversation with the Oregon Attorney spokesperson, Tony Green. Tony told me that tomorrow AG Kroger will announce some immediate reforms in how his office administers Oregon's public record law.

In particular, he will post the Public Records manual online for free access (it's already available at http://openuporegon.com) and he will appoint a DOJ attorney, Michael Kron, as the "Government Transparency" point person. Additionally, AG Kroger will hold public hearings across the state this winter on reforms to Oregon's public records law.

My own view is that Oregon's law is fine, and that the AG's office simply needs to make it clear to state agencies that they will not allow them to deny, delay, or charge unreasonable fees for access to public records. I am cautiously optimistic that the reforms Attorney Kroger is pursuing will do this and improve the current situation - perhaps substantially. I certainly intend to find out!

Thanks for your support for my efforts to encourage the AG to make these reforms.

Bill Harbaugh
Professor of Economics
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