It’s no joke – today is FOG’s 21st birthday.
Back when FOG was founded, our charter members hoped that they could work themselves out of a job, by ensuring that New Mexico’s freedom-of-information laws were strong and toothy.
Thanks to a major overhaul in 1993, New Mexico’s sunshine laws are extremely strong – some of the best in the nation. But FOG has discovered that its work goes on. Information technology is changing, and the laws have to adapt with it – the digital revolution is making public records both easier and harder to obtain, and the social-networking explosion is making it much easier for public officials to hold secret meetings. Because of that, we are writing things into law and policy that we couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago.
And even with strong laws on the books, citizens have to know how to use them. Our educational programs reach out to citizens, journalists and government officials to foster appreciation and understanding.
Finally, no matter how clear and strong you think the law is, disputes will always arise. Courts step in, and judges have to balance public access against other competing interests. FOG is there again and again to share our experiences and urge the courts to give public access the enormous weight it deserves.
So happy birthday to FOG, and let’s raise a glass to another 21 years.