Sunshine Week is a time to celebrate the open dissemination of information about how our government operates. Members of the press hold a vital place in the fabric of society. Through their efforts, the public can be made aware of government activities that will affect their lives every day.
The “Sunshine Laws” in place in Louisiana provide for open meetings and access to public records so that citizens can find out what their elected and appointed officials are doing on their behalf. The laws require that public notices and minutes be placed in legal journals, most often newspapers, so the citizens can know when meetings are scheduled or what actions were taken.
Since most citizens cannot attend meetings in person, reporters try to attend in their place and write about the discussion and actions taken. Sometimes it is necessary to request copies of records in order to fully understand a situation.
Without the persistence of a free press, given access to meetings and public records, much of what government does would take place out of sight or knowledge of the public. Without required public notices, the public would not have any way to know about actions affecting their lives until it is too late.
It is vitally important to a free society that public notice of matters like taxes be posted in local newspapers for the widest possible distribution of information. Websites and social media do not reach everyone, and who has the time to research every site in the state? Some entities do not even have websites or social media accounts.
Newspapers also provide a permanent record of meetings and actions taken. Print and microfilm copies last for decades, and can be archived and preserved indefinitely. Digital records can be altered or lost with the click of a button.
The DeQuincy News, like other local newspapers, provides citizens with the information they need to stay informed about federal, state and local government actions that affect their lives. The News depends on legal notice revenue to provide you and the parish with a local newspaper. Support a free press and freedom of information.
Contact your area legislators if you agree. They are listed here:
House, District 32 – Representative Dorothy Sue Hill represents western Beauregard Parish and a small part of northern Calcasieu Parish. Phone: 800-259-2118; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
House, District 35 – Representative Stephen Dwight represents southern Beauregard and northern Calcasieu Parish. Phone: 337-491-2315; E-mail: email@example.com.
Senate, District 30 – Senator John Smith represents Vernon, Beauregard, and western Calcasieu Parishes. District Phone: 337-238-2709 or 800-259-2709; E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.