Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - June 22, 2018 


GOP leadership puts its efforts to fix immigration on hold. Also on the Friday rundown: Florida students take their gun control message to the Midwest; and a call for renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Daily Newscasts

Public Records Expert: Oregon Gets F for Transparency

A public records expert gives the Oregon government an F for transparency. (Travel Salem/Flickr)
A public records expert gives the Oregon government an F for transparency. (Travel Salem/Flickr)
March 12, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – It's Sunshine Week, which highlights the public's ability to access information about the government, and also some of the challenges the public still faces to more transparency.

Attorney Duane Bosworth is a public records expert in Oregon who has defended journalists and fought for access to officials' records and public meetings. He says openness is a hallmark of America’s democracy.

While Oregon prides itself on not being corrupt and having a lot of public participation in government, Bosworth says the state could do much better.

"I would say it gets an F in transparency,” he states. “And largely that's public records, but there are many, many mistakes made with regard to public meetings and making sure the public can attend and participate."

Bosworth touts the virtues of having openness in government and some of its successes, including investigations into problems with the jail and school system, wrongdoing by public officials and analysis of programs that aren't serving the public adequately.

Bosworth maintains the barriers to open records are growing, although they have shifted. While there are still fights over which documents can be withheld, cost is becoming the biggest burden.

"The costs that are imposed on individuals or the media in order to obtain records,” he explains.” And those instances very often make obtaining the records prohibitive, certainly for individuals but also for legacy media and others."

Bosworth says Oregon statute also allows a significant delay in providing records and that the law for waiving or reducing fees on records is poor.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR