(800) 995-8696

More states focusing on open government initiatives

March 29, 2013

As transparency and open government efforts continue to remain in the spotlight, more states are examining their own policies and making improvements where necessary. In New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez recently signed a bill into law that requires any public government meetings to post notifications at least 72-hours in advance to ensure the public's awareness. Other states have recently made similar efforts to enhance open and transparent government initiatives.

From the state government to local school boards, the New Mexico law expands on the current 24-hour time frame for announcing meetings to help increase public awareness and citizen engagement.

"New Mexicans deserve to know the proceedings undertaken by their elected officials and other public bodies," Martinez said, according to The Republic. "One day simply isn't enough notice for a concerned citizen who might want to travel to another city to register their opinion on an important matter affecting their profession or their community. In the interest of transparency and public participation, these meeting agendas should be available well ahead of time."

In Utah, Governor Gary Herbert recently signed a similar bill to promote advanced transparency. This movement requires any government meeting minutes to be posted online within 30 days of the meeting, and audio recordings must be made available within three days. The bill affects all local offices in the state, from the town level up to the Governor's office itself.

Similar bills have helped to provide concerned citizens with critical information following meetings that could affect their lives. These efforts also improve record keeping and ensure that public archiving is accessible and reliable.

Citizens in Louisiana recently received positive news regarding their state's open government policies as well. According to the Bayou Buzz, Representative Paul Hollis recently announced public meetings to discuss open government issues and other legislative matters of concern to the citizenry in Lacombe and Mandevile, Louisiana.

According to the news source, Hollis noted that it is critical to have "real" conversations with constituents regarding a wide range of topics. This allows him to ensure voters are aware of the issues at hand and that they know how he is going to work on their behalf.

From public meetings to online portals, efforts to enhance open government needs can be improved through the use of meeting management solutions from IQM2. Through enhanced control over meeting minutes and related data, government offices can ensure that public information portals are updated quickly and efficiently, and nothing will fall through the cracks that could negatively affect transparency.