Your Right to Know - Part III

"What happens is, you get public agencies using that as an excuse, to withhold information that has nothing to do with Homeland Security," says Jon Fleischaker, media attorney and co-author of Kentucky's open records law.

Rob Jones, the Civil Division Director of the Kentucky Attorney General's Office, says all you need to do to file an "open records request" is submit a letter with a legible name and a signature, and be specific about the information you are requesting. The agency has three days to either comply with your request, or tell you why they won't. If your Open Records Request is denied, you have the right to contact the Attorney General's office at the state capitol, and they will take up the case for you.

"So it gives the average person a lot better access, a lot more economical access, to the documents that relate to the operation of state government,” says Rob Jones.

Unless overturned on appeal, the Attorney General’s opinion carries the weight of law. But your government is only as open as you make it.

"I would like to see citizens become more aware and more vocal in efforts to open up government. I think it's in everybody's interest,” says Fleischaker.

"If we can continue to improve the knowledge and understanding of the law on both sides, I think we'll continue to improve the access that should be provided, and provide the people who need to know, the information to make decisions about how their government should operate,” says Rob Jones.

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office provides pamphlets to help you find out what your government is doing. "Protecting Your Right to Know" explains Kentucky’s "open records" and "open meetings" laws. It even has sample letters you can follow to file an open records request. "Your Duty Under the Law" explains to government employees and publicly-supported agencies what they should be doing to provide you with open records and access to open meetings.

Remember, they work for you, and it's “Your Right to Know.”


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