Tester Seeks to Shine Light on Darkest Corners of Government Bureaucracy
Senator Introduces Bill to Increase Transparency of Federal Records
(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is shining more light on the federal government by increasing transparency of public records.
Tester introduced the Public Online Information Act, which will make all public records from the Executive Branch permanently available on the Internet in a searchable database at no cost to constituents.
“All Montanans know we cannot hold folks accountable without sunshine, and in the 21st century we have no excuse not to be as transparent as possible,” Tester said. “We need more sunshine in our government and this legislation will make it easier for Montanans to keep folks honest.”
Tester's bill, which covers all documents generated, updated, or released after the bill's enactment, would also establish an independent, bipartisan watchdog to issue guidelines for making public information accessible online.
Tester, a longtime government reform leader, introduced this bill during Sunshine Week—a national initiative to highlight government openness and transparency.
His legislation was praised by open government advocacy group the Sunlight Foundation.
"Sunlight has been a strong supporter of the POIA since 2010, when Rep. Israel and Sen. Jon Tester, first introduced this important transparency reform,” said Alex Howard of the Sunshine Foundation. “If enacted, the bill would enshrine into law the simple, transformative principle that in the 21st century, public means online. We hope Congress moves forward with much-needed open government reforms."
Yesterday, Tester sent a letter to President Trump encouraging him to work together to increase transparency on the Federal Elections Commission.
Last month, Tester introduced his plan to get big money out of politics.
Tester is the first Senator in history to post his daily public schedule online.