Democratic candidates for governor, attorney general to participate in Sunshine Conference

Gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson and Jim Priest, a candidate for attorney general, will share their views on open government at FOI Oklahoma Inc.'s third annual Sunshine Week conference.

Oklahoma Sunshine ’10: Privacy, Politicians & the Public’s Need to Know will be held March 13 at The Oklahoman, 9000 N. Broadway, Oklahoma City.

The conference's afternoon session will feature a question-and-answer session with candidates for governor and attorney general. All the announced candidates have been invited to participate.

Each candidate will be afforded three minutes to initially state his or her position on open government and any proposals regarding government transparency and the state’s open meeting and records laws.

The latest candidates to accept the invitation are Democrats: Edmondson, the state attorney general, and Priest, an Oklahoma City attorney and lay minister.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Sen. Randy Brogdon and Robert Hubbard also have agreed to participate.

The conference will celebrate FOI Oklahoma Inc.'s 20th anniversary and preview what's ahead for open government in the state.

The morning sessions will focus on the issue of individual privacy versus the public’s need to know. State legislators are considering exempting government employees' dates of birth from the state Open Records Act.

SB 1753, filed by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, comes on the heels of a written opinion by Edmondson that those birth dates are presumed open and may be withheld only if officials can demonstrate on a case-by-case basis that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy that outweighs the public interest. (2009 OK AG 33)

During the conference luncheon, the recipients of FOI Oklahoma's three annual FOI awards will be announced.

Joey Senat, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
OSU School of Journalism

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.