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Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at

June 12, 2009

Markell Signs Landmark Open Government Legislation

NEW CASTLE – Standing in one of Delaware’s most historic buildings, Gov. Jack Markell on Friday joined with two lawmakers who have spent years advocating for open government to sign a bill putting the General Assembly under the Freedom of Information Act.

House Bill 1, which passed both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously, requires the General Assembly to abide by the same open records and open meetings rules that state agencies and county and municipal governments must follow. Before signing the legislation, the Governor praised House Speaker Robert Gilligan, Senator Karen Peterson and other open government activists at the Old Court House in New Castle for their hard work to get the bill passed.

“Delawareans deserve to have as much information as possible about what their government is doing,” said Markell, who as a candidate pledged to make Delaware government more transparent during an event at the Old Court House last year.  “In an open government, everyone wins. Sunshine is truly the best disinfectant.”

Speaker Gilligan, who was the lead sponsor of House Bill 1, said that many candidates ran for office on the issue of open government, so he made sure it was the first bill filed when the legislative session began.

“I made a commitment in 2006 and 2008

that if I was in a position as Speaker of the House, the first bill introduced would a real FOIA bill. With the elections in November and the Democratic Party taking the majority in the House, that’s exactly what we were able to do,” the Speaker said. “I am very happy we have enacted this bill into law today. The public is entitled to know what happens in Dover. It is their money and it is their government. Today is a good day for the people of Delaware.”

Sen. Peterson has worked on ending the General Assembly’s exemption from FOIA since taking office in 2003 and said she’s gratified to see Markell signing the bill.

“I never expected a unanimous vote in the Senate. Maybe I just wore them down after all these years,” Peterson said. “This has been a long, sometimes frustrating struggle, but it’s been worth it and I’m glad this day has come.”


Last Updated: Monday, 05-Aug-2013 15:25:14 EDT
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