ERIC Number: ED220892
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
FCC and the Sunshine Act.
The Sunshine Act, designed to encourage open meetings to increase public understanding of the governmental decision-making process, went into effect in March 1977. A total of 50 agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), are subject to the provisions of the Sunshine Act. The act lists 10 exemptions, any of which can result in a closed meeting. The FCC was not unique among agencies in its early overall opposition to the Sunshine Act, but it promised to comply. The FCC's plans for implementation of the Sunshine Act met with some public skepticism, particularly regarding how easy it would be for the Commission to close a meeting to the public. During the 2 years following the FCC's initial implementation plans, the commission adopted other Sunshine-related measures that earned it, in certain quarters, the label of exemplary agency, but data obtained from the FCC indicated that only a small percentage of meetings were open to the public for each year through 1980. During 1978-79, the exemption dealing with the agency's involvement in civil actions or proceedings was used one and one-half times more frequently than all other exemptions combined. The Act also still permits Ex Parte communication--policy by oral or written communication. With current budget cuts precluding advanced notice of FCC meetings by mail, the public must wait until the item appears in the "Federal Register," often on the very day of the meeting, to find out about it. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.