Editorial criticizing legislators on Sunshine Law vote ‘broad, unfair’

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Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

The Call editorial regarding the Sunshine Law was scathing but overly broad and unfair.

The editorial quotes hysterical statements such as “the most radical undermining of open records and transparency law in state history” and “That’s a corrupt officials dream,” and “Lawmakers hoping to shield their own records from the public eye.” All that?

Actually, the proposal is very narrow and specific, and The Call printed it on their front page. The front page article specifically states: “… Changes to the Sunshine Law would make communications between public officials at all levels of government and their constituents largely immune to public records requests.” This provision is not meant to protect lawmakers, but constituents who have chosen to contact their legislator.

The parent whose child needs drug treatment, or has trouble in school and needs help but doesn’t know where to get it; a resident wrongly accused of a crime or facing eviction; a citizen wrongly denied a concealed carry permit; or just some person who was really angry about something and communicated with their representative in language they likely regret, all are people who do not want or need to find themselves front page news.

Knowing they’re setting themselves up as potential media fodder will prevent many citizens from contacting their legislator.

This is not good for representative government. Reps. Jim Murphy, David Gregory, Michael O’Donnell and Mary Elizabeth Coleman supported a good and decent change designed to protect their constituents, not themselves.

The usually fair and reasonable Call was way overboard in their criticism of them.

Russell Dahmer
Crestwood