During this Sunshine Week (a national effort to spur discussion of the importance of open government and freedom of information), we are seeing a lot of interesting developments in access to U.S. government information.
Representative Steve Israel recently filed the Public Online Information Act, which would require Executive Branch agencies to publish all publicly available information on the Internet in a timely fashion and in easy to use formats. The Sunlight Foundation provides information about the bill including a one-page summary, the full bill text and a short video. (Hat tip, Erin Miller of the Sunlight Foundation.)
Also, the U.S. courts issued a press release that the Judicial Conference has decided to make some modest changes to PACER, including increasing the amount of free documents users can get from $10 per year to $10 per quarter, extending the pilot offering audio of court proceedings (along witha cut in costs from $26 to $2.40) and approval of a pilot publish federal district and bankruptcy court opinions via the government’s FDsys system so the public can search decisions more easily across courts. For an interesting commentary on what these changes really mean, see former Berkman fellow (and RECAP co-author) Steve Schultze’s blog commentary.
This announcement about PACER comes on the heels of its announcement of a new Case Locator to replace its U.S. Party/Case Index.