March means more than warmer temperatures for those of us in the transparency community—it also means Sunshine Week, the annual nationwide celebration of access to public information. Since the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) launched the initiative 15 years ago, journalists, librarians, concerned citizens, civil society organizations, elected officials, and government employees alike have embraced the week as an opportunity to discuss the importance of open government. There are a number of exciting events planned in the days leading up to and during Sunshine Week 2020. (Might it someday expand to Sunshine Month?!)
A reminder that on Thursday March 5th, the FOIA Advisory Committee meets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Committee will consider proposed recommendations from its three subcommittees: Records Management, Time/Volume and Vision. Meeting materials will be posted on the Committee’s website. If you wish to attend the meeting in person, you must register by midnight EST March 2. If you cannot make it in person, watch the meeting via web stream.
Thursday March 12th will be busy: we are partnering with our colleagues at the National Declassification Center (NDC) and Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) on an afternoon forum on FOIA and Intelligence Community agencies. In the morning, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the McGowan Theater at the National Archives, NDC leaders and experts will reflect on NDC’s first 10 years and look to the center’s future. Then, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., OGIS, NDC and ISOO host a program to help shed light on the process of obtaining records from the Intelligence Community (IC). Representatives from several IC agencies will join the conversation in this forum, “Using FOIA to Access Intelligence Community Records.” To attend one or both of these events, please register by March 10, 2020. (If you are wondering what to do between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., consider grabbing a bite to eat in the National Archives Charters Café and visiting the National Archives Museum.) If you are outside the Washington, DC, area or cannot make it, the NDC anniversary panel and IC forum will be streamed online.
Also on March 12th, the U.S. Department of Justice will hold its annual Sunshine Week celebration event in the Department’s Great Hall from 10:00 a.m. to noon for agency personnel and members of the public. This event will include a keynote by the Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General of the United States, as well as the Department’s annual Sunshine Week FOIA Awards Ceremony to honor and celebrate the work of dedicated FOIA professionals across the government. Please register to attend this event by March 10.
On Monday March 16th, OGIS will celebrate Sunshine Week at the National Archives with a program featuring a conversation with Senior Judge Royce C. Lamberth, former Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The program also will feature panel of experts on FOIA and access issues discussing the current transparency landscape. Please register to attend by March 12. This event will also be streamed online.
On Tuesday, March 17th, the Census Bureau will host an exciting open government event for Federal employees from 11:00 a.m.-noon. This event will feature live demonstrations of transparency tools such as NOAA’s Big Data Project, CMS’s Mapping Medicare Disparity Tool, GSA’s United States Web Design Systems, Census Bureau’s Census Flow Mappers, FOIAonline, and much more! Federal employees who wish to attend must register in advance.
On Wednesday, March 18th, the Census Bureau will host a public event that begins at 9:30 a.m. Nancy Potok, Former Chief Statistician of the United States, Office of Management and Budget, will speak about her experience with open government. This event is free and open to the public; if you would like to attend in person or via phone, please register in advance.
We look forward to seeing you at these Sunshine Week events!