Across the country, Sunshine Week is marked by panel discussions, workshops and other events about using and understanding the latest developments in freedom of information resources. If you’d like to see some of what went on in 2013-2016, please visit The Vault.

To have your Sunshine Week event included, please send details and a link or email contact for more information to:

Sunshine Week
(March 12-18, 2017)
The 3rd Annual Foilies Awards
Electronic Frontier Foundation, San Francisco, CA
Government transparency shouldn’t be a battle, but too often when the public wants to see what their officials are up to they’re met with resistance, hostility, obfuscation, and even retaliation.
For the third year in a row, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is soliciting submissions for “The Foilies,” our tongue-in-cheek awards for government officials who stand in the way of your right to review what they’re up to.

Minnesota Newspaper Association and Public Information Policies
Minnesota Newspaper Association, Minneapolis, MN
According to Washington D.C. freelance reporter Kathryn Foxhall, who blogged about the topic on the national SPJ website, there’s been a surge in government offices prohibiting staff from speaking with journalists unless they go through a public information officer. This year, the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, in collaboration with the Minnesota Newspaper Association, is reaching out to newsrooms and student journalists across the state to look at policies and practices dealing with public information officers.

USA Today Network and E-Democracy
USA Today Network, New York, NY
What’s a reasonable expectation for accessing important information through your local town website? Answering that question is the objective of a USA Today Network project for Sunshine Week 2017, an annual open government initiative. This year, we want to highlight access to information that ideally should be made public through the websites of New York’s counties, cities and towns without special request. All of USA Today’s New York properties and the Albany bureau will be working on the project, with the assistance of our readers.

USA Today Network and Public Officials
USA Today Network, Appleton, WI
They’re entrusted with important responsibilities to keep people safe, educate kids, maintain roads and enforce rules fairly. Taxpayers fund their salaries. But just how public are public officials? As part of Sunshine Week, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin is looking for people in central Wisconsin to share their experiences with accessing government information.

March 12, 2017 (Events coming soon!)
March 13, 2017 MCCF Monthly Meeting – Sunshine Week
Montgomery County Civic Federation, Rockville, MD
Join the Civic Fed to discuss the transparency of Montgomery County government, including how to submit Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The Right to Know in New Hampshire, in Theory and Practice
Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New England First Amendment Coalition, Manchester, NH
In recognition of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote open government, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New England First Amendment Coalition will present a discussion concerning the key to open government in New Hampshire — the state’s Right to Know Law.

Sunshine Week 2017 Celebration and FOIA IT Working Group Meeting
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
The Justice Department will present agency professionals with Sunshine Week FOIA Awards and host a special meeting of the FOIA IT Working Group from 10 a.m. to noon at the Robert F. Kennedy Building in D.C. This event will also feature a keynote presentation from the department.

Sunshine Week 2017 at the National Archives
Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.
OGIS will host a celebration of sunshine and open government in the William G. McGowan Theater. This event is free and open to the public, both in person and via a live web stream, and for those who miss out, a video will be posted after the event. 

Free Sunshine Week OPRA/OPMA Seminar
New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, Bellmawr, NJ
Join us for a discussion of New Jersey’s Open Public Records and Meetings Acts (OPRA and OPMA), and be sure to bring your questions. Attorney Walter Luers, who specializes in OPRA and OPMA matters, will be speaking. Handouts and light refreshments will be provided. Free and open to all.

March 14, 2017 DC Open Government Summit
DC Open Government Coalition, Washington, D.C.
The DC Open Government Coalition will be partnering with the National Press Club and other local organizations on its 6th annual Open Government Summit. The summit will be held at the National Press Club on the evening of Tuesday, March and promises a lively discussion about the state of transparency in the District of Columbia. The event is free but registration is required.

The RTDNF First Amendment Awards
Radio Television Digital News Association, Washington, D.C.
The RTDNF First Amendment Awards honor individuals and organizations for their work on behalf of First Amendment freedom. RTDNF is a charitable and educational group which supports protecting our First Amendment freedoms and our rights to free and unfettered media. It is also a training and educational organization, which provides thousands of dollars in scholarships each year to the journalists of the future and provides training to both entry-level and experienced media professionals.

Annual Sunshine Luncheon & Awards Reception
First Amendment Foundation, Tallahassee, FL
The First Amendment Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded The Honorable Scott Ellis, Clerk of Court for Brevard County, the 2016 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award. The winner of the 2016 James C. Adkins/Sunshine Litigation Award is Mr. Curtis Lee of Jacksonville. The awards will be presented at the Foundation’s annual Sunshine Recognition luncheon during Florida’s annual Sunshine Week celebrations.

Sunshine Week Kickoff Event
Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C.
The Department of Commerce’s Office of Privacy and Open Government and the Census Bureau’s Open Government Office will host a National Sunshine Week Kickoff event “Strengthening Transparency through Open Data and Access to Information” from 9 a.m. to noon at the Department of Commerce Research Library. Agenda and additional details will be posted later at the event’s site.

March 15, 2017 (Events coming soon!)
March 16, 2017 Cops & Cameras: privacy, transparency and limitations
Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C.
Last year during Sunshine Week, SPJ National released two reports under the heading “Mediated Access.” One was a survey of law enforcement agency public information officers, the other a survey of crime reporters. Despite many groundbreaking findings in these reports, body-worn camera policies were mostly too new for the PIOs and reporters surveyed to comment on. Join the Society of Professional Journalists D.C. Pro Chapter to learn how to improve accuracy and understanding as you report on policing.

Finnegan FOI Award
Minnesota Coalition of Government Information, Minneapolis, MN
Established in 1989, the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information award is given to those individuals and groups who demonstrate through expression and action commitment to the idea that a popular and democratic government can never realize the aspirations of the founding fathers without the participation of an informed electorate. An informed electorate cannot exist without access to information. Each year, the Minnesota Coalition of Government Information (MnCOGI) presents the John R. Finnegan Freedom of Information Award to honor a Minnesotan or Minnesota institution whose work demonstrates leadership and commitment to the power of information to effect change.

March 17, 2017 (Events coming soon!)
March 18, 2017 (Events coming soon!)
March 22, 2017 E-Discovery, Records & Information Management Conference & Expo
Digital Government Institute, Washington, D.C.
As the volume of digital information continues to grow, the scope of electronic records management has expanded exponentially and is an increasingly critical issue for government agencies, particularly as it relates to providing secure storage, access and retrieval of government records. Key government and industry experts will gather at the 14th annual event – which is FREE for government professionals – to discuss current technology solutions/requirements, policy updates/changes and review examples of successful electronic records and e-discovery programs.
March 22, 2017 2017 James Madison Freedom of Information Awards
Northern California Society of Professional Journalists
The James Madison Awards recognize Northern California organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to advancing freedom of information and/or expression in the spirit of James Madison, the creative force behind the First Amendment. SPJ NorCal presents the awards during National Freedom of Information Week near Madison’s birthday, March 16.
We welcome nominations of individuals, such as journalists, lay citizens, public officials, attorneys, educators, librarians and students, as well as news outlets and other organizations that, during 2016, have defended public access to government meetings, public records, court proceedings or otherwise promoted the public’s right to know, publish, and speak freely about issues of public concern.