Bipartisan Coalition Calls for Strengthening Public Records Act

In celebration of National Sunshine Week, Right to Know Nevada is pleased to unveil the RightToKnowNevada.com website, which details the coalition’s support for increased transparency in government. The coalition is perhaps the most ideologically diverse in modern Nevada history.

— Nonprofit and advocacy organizations: ACLU of Nevada, League of Women Voters of Nevada, Nevada Policy Research Institute, Power2Parent.

— Media organizations: Nevada Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists Las Vegas, the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Nevada Independent, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, News 3 Las Vegas, KOLO-TV. [ThisisReno has also signed on to this effort. -Ed.]

— Current and former elected officials and individual Nevadans such as Connie Brennan, CEO and President of Nevada Business Magazine, and Howard Stutz, Executive Editor of CDC Gaming Reports.

The coalition shares a unifying belief that every citizen has the right to a transparent and accountable government. For more than 100 years, Nevada has sought to ensure all government agencies are transparent and accountable to the people they serve through a state law now known as the Nevada Public Records Act.

Right to Know Nevada supports legislation put forth by State Senator David Parks to help strengthen the Act in important ways so that all Nevadans are able to exercise their right to access and inspect government records.

Maggie McLetchie, an attorney who frequently litigates public records cases, says Nevada already has a very good transparency law on the books, and now we just need to make sure that the law is actually followed:

“By ensuring that existing law is actually followed, Senator Parks’ bill would reduce the need for expensive public records litigation, which is a good thing. The goal is to eliminate the need for costly lawsuits and to simply have the government be fully transparent and accountable to the people it serves, which is what state law already requires,” said McLetchie.

ACLU of Nevada Executive Director Tod Story said that the bill will help ensure that all governments comply with the law in a uniform and timely manner.

“While existing law already requires a response within 5 business days, we have experienced vastly different response times, not to mention fees, from governments across the state in response to the identical request. In fact, some agencies simply never responded to our request at all,” said Story.

National Sunshine Week is the perfect time for Senator Parks to introduce his transparency bill (SB287), and Right to Know Nevada is eager to work with Nevada lawmakers who have shown a commitment to transparency in government and a free press. 

State Senator Nicole Cannizzaro’s recent election to Senate Majority Leader was a huge win for a free press, according to coalition member and executive director of the Nevada Press Association Richard Karpel.

“We were thrilled to see Senator Cannizzaro elected to Senate Majority Leader. As a past recipient of our First Amendment Award, we know Senator Cannizzaro has always fought to make government more transparent and more accountable, and we look forward to continuing to support her in those efforts,” Karpel said.

There are few lawmakers who have been more committed to government transparency than Gov. Steve Sisolak, according to coalition member and NPRI Policy Director Robert Fellner.

“Governor Sisolak’s commitment to transparency in government is truly second to none. As a county commissioner, he consistently defended the public ’s right to know, even when it was politically costly to do so. Sunshine Week is the perfect time to celebrate Governor Sisolak for a career spent fighting to protect Nevadans’ right to know,” Fellner said.

For more information, please visit RightToKnowNevada.com or email [email protected].

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