Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oklahoma earns 'F' for public access to government information

Oklahoma's Open Records Act received a failing grade and ranked 33rd nationally in a recent national study of public access to government information.
Connecticut ranked first with an 89 percent "B+" grade, according to the State Integrity Investigation.
Oklahoma scored 54 percent.
The score probably should have been lower because the state received 100 percent for having a right of appeal if access to a record is denied.
The only appeal is to file a lawsuit, which the survey described as "a risky proposition which is both time-consuming and expensive," or ask a district attorney to enforce the statute.
South Carolina was "faulted" for having the same "weak legal structure." It ranked last with an overall score of 22.
South Carolina received zero points for the absence of a formal appeals process when a record is denied. Oklahoma received 100 percent under the same question.
However, Oklahoma received zero percent for not having a government "agency or entity that monitors the application of access to information laws and regulations."
Likewise, Oklahoma received zero percent for not having an agency that "independently initiates investigations" and "imposes penalties on offenders."
Also read: Oklahoma gets F on open government survey, by Bryan Dean, The Oklahoman, 7.28.12

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.

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