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Retired Oklahoma ACLU executive honored for First Amendment efforts

FOI Oklahoma presented awards Saturday, honoring those dedicated to the free flow of information.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: March 13, 2011
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The Oklahoman was named winner of the Blackstock Award, which goes to a nongovernmental person or organization that has shown a commitment to freedom of information.

The newspaper won the award for its work to keep state employees' birth dates available. The Oklahoma Public Employees Association wants the birth dates added to a list of information that is exempt from the state Open Records Act. Current exemptions in the law include employees' Social Security numbers, home addresses and telephone numbers.

Former Attorney General Drew Edmondson said the birth dates should be considered available to the public unless there are overriding reasons to shut them off. The OPEA has gone to court to prevent the state from making birth dates available upon request. The case is pending.

Terrill was named winner of the Black Hole Award — presented to someone who thwarts the free flow of information — for, among other things, introducing legislation that would exempt birth dates from the Open Records Act.

Murphey, a former member of the Guthrie City Council, received the Sunshine Award, which goes to a public official or governmental body that has shown a commitment to open meetings and open records.

He was elected to the state Legislature in 2006, campaigning on a platform of never accepting contributions or gifts from lobbyists or groups that employee lobbyists.

He has been an advocate of transparency in government since arriving at the state Capitol. A bill introduced by Murphey would require the Legislature to comply with the state open meeting and open records laws — just as any other state agency must do.