Congressional Digest

Supreme Court Debates March 2013 No. 3 Vol. 16
Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information

"Sunshine Laws" and Access to Government Records

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In the late 1960s and early 1970s, many States and the Federal Government enacted freedom of information acts (FOIA), often called “sunshine laws,” which opened up government records to public access upon request, often for a minimal processing fee. The principle behind these laws is that, in a democracy, citizens have a right to view the inner workings of their government and the documents and data that the government and its officials produce.

All 50 States and the District of Columbia have some form of open records, open meetings, or freedom of information laws on their books, with varying rules and reg…

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