Honors for the late Rich McKee

Rich McKee
Rich McKee

The late Richard P. McKee will be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame on April 13 in Dallas, the NFIC reports.

McKee was past president of the California First Amendment Coalition and co-founder of Californians Aware (CalAware). He was a chemistry professor at Pasadena City College, not a lawyer or journalist. But in the last decade and a half before his sudden death in 2011 at age 62, he was estimated to have sued — successfully — more public agencies in the state for violations of the open meetings and public records laws than any member of the State Bar.

McKee helped design, administer and score a series of public records law compliance audits conducted by CalAware, with successive probes targeting leading state agencies, more than 200 law enforcement departments, and the public education system: 194 K-12 school districts, half of all community college districts, and all state university and UC campuses. A California law opening the records of state college and university campus foundations is named the Richard McKee Transparency Act.

The National Freedom of Information Coalition is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes press freedom, litigation and legislative and administrative reforms that ensure open, transparent and accessible state and local governments. It was founded in 1989.