Sunrise over Acadia National Park, photo du Houx
In recognition of Sunshine Week, taking place March 15-21, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is affirming the department’s commitment to open government.
“Providing access to government is probably the most critical aspect of any public servant’s calling,” said Dunlap.
Sunshine Week is a national initiative that seeks to promote the importance of open government and freedom of information. Originally started by members of the press in Florida, Sunshine Week now includes participants from several different groups throughout the nation that support the public’s right to know.
In Maine, the Department of the Secretary of State oversees the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, State Archives and Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. Due to the nature of these entities, requests for information are regularly received from other state agencies, the public and the press.
In parallel to the federal Freedom of Information Act, the State of Maine has its own Freedom of Access Act, which outlines the process for providing public records while protecting the privacy of individuals. The department is always eager to provide whatever information is legally available for release, in a timely manner.
Maine's three Constitutional officers are elected by the legislature, not appointed by the Governor, as is done in other states. This ensures a greater level of transparency.
For more information about Sunshine Week, visit sunshineweek.rcfp.org.