* NOTE: This post has been updated as of Tuesday, March 20, 6:00 p.m. ALA’s Executive Board of Directors issued this update intended to document the source and original intent of the Madison Award and to identify next steps for future awards.
Saturday, March 10, 11:15 a.m.: Thank you for your feedback about yesterday’s James Madison Award ceremony. In December, ALA invited nominations for the James Madison Award and the Eileen Cooke Award on behalf of ALA. Staff from the Washington Office reviewed member suggestions and selected recipients and sought further review of award candidates from ALA members in Florida, Illinois and California. Awardees were selected, in line with the descriptions of the award, which “recognizes an individual or group who has championed, protected, or promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know at the national level.” With regard to the Madison Award, Representatives Quigley and Issa have been bipartisan leaders on several of ALA’s key government information efforts, including co-founding and co-chairing the Congressional Transparency Caucus together. Representative Issa led the successful enactment of the bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act and the DATA Act. Rep. Quigley also advocated for the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act and the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.
This year’s James Madison Award goes to U.S. Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Mike Quigley (D-IL). The Eileen Cooke Award goes to Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. Both awards honor individuals or organizations who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know how it functions.
Today ALA President Jim Neal presented the 2018 awards during a National Sunshine Week preview event that will livestreamed at 12:00 noon (ET) from the Newseum’s Knight TV Studio in Washington, D.C.
This marks the 30th year ALA has presented the James Madison Award. As co-founders and co-chairs of the Congressional Transparency Caucus, Representatives Issa and Quigley have shown bipartisan leadership to ensure the core democratic value of government transparency is more than just an ideal in Washington. In addition to co-founding the Transparency Caucus, both Congressmen have introduced legislation that requires federal information to be freely accessible, and advocated for new initiatives that support transparency, including:
- FOIA Oversight and Implementation Act of 2016, updating the 50-year-old Freedom of Information Act; introduced by Rep. Issa and enacted in 2016
- Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA), introduced in 2013 by Rep. Issa, enacted in 2014
- Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, introduced by Rep. Quigley in 2017
- Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act of 2017 (H.R. 2335), cosponsored by Rep. Quigley
The Eileen Cooke Award, named after past ALA Washington Office Director, will be presented to Florida First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen. Its small staff is known throughout the state as a tireless powerhouse of information and inspiration that equips its vast network of local advocates to hold their government accountable. The Foundation was founded in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspapers Editors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government. A highly visible source of information and expertise in Florida, the Foundation holds numerous educational events for government officials, citizen action groups and journalists and regularly publishes a variety of resources on Florida’s sunshine laws.
Happy Sunshine Week (March 12-16)!
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