High school students throughout Washington are invited to enter the 2017 Scott Johnson Open Government High School Essay Competition, offering a cash prize for the best essay on this year’s topic of open government issues. This year’s topic is “In what ways is it important for citizens to have access to government records and meetings, and what are the perils if citizens are denied access? Cite actual examples of benefits and perils to support your position.”
Two of WCOG’s three “high priority” bills are still alive in the 2017 regular session of the Washington State Legislature. Two bills that came out of a “stakeholder group” that included legislators, agencies and others interested in access laws (including WCOG) survived the March 29 cutoff, “by which bills must be voted out of committee in the opposite house or be considered dead for this session,” says Toby Nixon, WCOG president, who is tracking relevant legislation. He has testified at several hearings and urges friends of open government to contact their legislators about relevant bills.
The Washington Coalition for Open Government’s annual Madison-Andersen Awards breakfast will take place Friday morning, Sept. 22 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle.
The event honors outstanding contributions to open government efforts, and involves three key awards: The James Madison Award, recognizing a long-term commitment to the cause of open government; the James Andersen Award, for an individual or organization that has done extraordinary work advancing WCOG’s efforts; and the Ken Bunting Award, honoring exceptional journalistic work that supports and demonstrates the importance of open government.
Contributors to the Washington Coalition for Open Government can stretch their donations with good timing or savvy shopping.
The Amazon online shopping mart will make a donation to the Washington Coalition for Open Government when you spend money at its site. Also, the Seattle Foundation’s annual Give BIG event is upcoming May 10, offering a chance for matching funds.
A team of investigative reporters who relied on public records to expose dangerous practices in medical care, and a county council that opted for transparency in regard to public funds, plus an advocate who encouraged the council to change its policy, are among recent recipients of WCOG’s Key Award.
The Key Award is given by board vote to recognize a person or organization who has done something notable for the cause of open government.