Kentuckians are justifiably proud of their nationally recognized open meetings and records laws, popularly referred to as sunshine laws.
Since the mid-1970s, these laws have enabled the public to hold their officials and agencies accountable through meetings and records access. The policies that support the laws have, as Kentucky’s Supreme Court once noted, “revealed whether public servants are indeed serving the public” and provided “impetus for agencies steadfastly to pursue the public good.”
They are, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis presciently observed, “the best of disinfectants.”
But Kentucky’s sunshine laws, which have not been substantially amended in 23 years, are showing their age.
Successive legal challenges, coupled with a revolution in the dynamics of communication, have exposed deficiencies in the laws that warrant legislative action.