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Public access to information and sunshine laws should be considered in all communication by all public servants (whether you are a line staff member or agency director). Technology adds another dimension to what is covered under administrative law in this area.
E-mail correspondence can be requested under the freedom of information laws. Should e-mail communication among government officials also have to comply with sunshine laws? According to most sunshine laws, officials cannot meet to discuss public business without notifying the public of the meeting in advance. Consider the following scenario: In the case of Spokane County, Washington, there are only three county commissioners, so any communication between any two of them is automatically a policy-making majority. A reporter for the local paper asked the commissioners to release all of their e-mail over the past two months concerning county business. Assume that you are the attorney general in your state in charge of sunshine law enforcement. Given the political objectives of sunshine laws, how would you advise the public officials to handle their e-mail? Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.
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