September 6, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, a broad group of individuals and organizations advocating for open government, is pleased to announce the presentation of its 2012 Maine Sunshine Award to State Senator Richard W. Rosen of Bucksport in recognition of his steadfast support of open government.

The award was presented to Rosen at a State House news conference today.

“Senator Rosen did an outstanding job in this legislative biennium of sponsoring and shepherding an important piece of right-to-know legislation, LD 1465,” said Suzanne Goucher, President & CEO of the Maine Association of Broadcasters and President of the Coalition.  “Among other provisions, this bill establishes that every unit of government in Maine must designate a Public Access Officer to assist the public in accessing government documents and records.

The Senator also worked to protect funding in the state budget that, for the first time, allows the hiring of a Public Access Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s Office.  While this position was created in 2007, this is the first year it has been funded.

“Senator Rosen has been a solid supporter of open government initiatives during his service in the legislature,” said Mal Leary, principal of Capitol News Service and Vice President of the Coalition.  “He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. As a reporter covering the Appropriations Committee, I saw him time and time again remind the committee that they had to do their work in public, no matter how painful the issue.”

The MFOIC Sunshine Award is intended to honor citizens, journalists, media organizations, or community groups that have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government meetings, public records, and court proceedings, or otherwise promoted the public's right to know and to publish, broadcast, and speak freely about issues of public concern.

The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation representing individuals and organizations committed to open access to public information in print, electronic and digital formats. The Coalition includes media representatives, attorneys, librarians, state and local government officials, educators and others who care about transparency in government, information access and the role of an informed citizenry in a democracy.  The ACLU of Maine is a proud member of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

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