Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Open Government Report 2009: Records and meetings laws relatively good, but family courts worry advocates of openness

Kentuckians can feel confident their government is operating with a relatively high degree of transparency and openness, except for “serious problems” in the juvenile and family court system, which includes juvenile proceedings.

That's the news in the 2009 Kentucky Open Government Report, published by the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, which publish this blog.

The relatively good state of open-records law was illustrated last week by The Courier-Journal's publication of a story and online database about donations to the University of Louisville Foundation. The story was made possible by a state Supreme Court ruling that ended a long legal battle between the university and the newspaper.

On the other hand, family courts and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services combine to create the biggest black hole in Kentucky government, says Jon Fleischaker, a Louisville lawyer who wrote Kentucky’s open-government laws and remains the state’s foremost First Amendment attorney.

For the full report in PDF format, click here; to read it from a Web page with links, click here.

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