FOI and Open Government News

Photographing public records to save time a big no-no in Tennessee

2 September, 2015 - In Tennessee, people can inspect public records for free, but grabbing a photo could cost them.  Continue>>>

Jackson, Miss., becomes first What Works city to sign executive order on open data

2 September, 2015 - In a huge step forward for transparency in the city of Jackson, Miss., Mayor Tony Yarber has today signed an executive order that will create an open data policy and establish a powerful commitment to government openness. Continue>>>

Tennessee: Hearings could force charges to public to inspect government records

2 September, 2015 - Changes to Tennessee law could force you to pay access fees to inspect public records.  Continue>>>

Florida Sunshine, open meeting seminar planned for Orlando

1 September, 2015 - The Orlando Sentinel Media Group will host the First Amendment Foundation's fall Sunshine Seminar on Thursday, Sept. 17.  Continue>>>

Vermont State Treasurer Pearce Wins Transparency Award

1 September, 2015 - State Treasurer Beth Pearce this week was named a recipient of the President’s Award from the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, or NASACT, at their annual conference held this year in Chicago.  Continue>>>

Veteran newspaper editor and Sunshine Week pioneer named to FOI Hall of Fame

31 August, 2015 - Former Miami Herald managing editor, Pete Weitzel has become the 16th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame.  Continue>>>

Massachusetts regional forums to focus on Open Meeting Law

31 August, 2015 - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy's office will hold four regional educational forums on the Open Meeting Law throughout the state this fall.  Continue>>>

Utah: Weber State professor wins bid to open campaign finance records

31 August, 2015 - A physics professor, curious about local political spending, has won his Utah Supreme Court bid to open records from the former Envision Ogden civic group.  Continue>>>

Va. Supreme Court secretary responds to FOIA lawsuit

31 August, 2015 - The administrators of the state court system say they're not the custodians of a collection of case records contained in their computer system, so the state law guaranteeing the public access to government records doesn't apply to them.  Continue>>>

Transparency Watch: D.C. Schools Task Force to Meet for Two Years, Develop Ideas In Secret

31 August, 2015 - Issues that have been contentious in public about the future of schools in the District seem poised to disappear behind closed doors—including where to put new schools, better sharing of good ideas, reducing student mobility, serving those students not now thriving, and getting better information to families puzzled by the dizzy array of choices.  Continue>>>

Tennessee: Loudon mayor supports charging for public records; TCOG opposes bill

28 August, 2015 - Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw's decision to support proposed legislation that would charge residents to view public records seems at odds with his campaign promise to increase government transparency.  Continue>>>

DC Circuit Clarifies Public-Interest and News-Media Fee Waivers Under FOIA

28 August, 2015 - A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a lower court ruling that imposed burdensome requirements on a fledgling nonprofit that prevented it from obtaining public-interest or news-media fee waivers under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Continue>>>

Editorial: Four ways North Dakota could improve its open records laws

27 August, 2015 - North Dakota has very strong transparency laws that make, with few exceptions, just about every government record and meeting completely open to the public.  Continue>>>

FEC feuds with open government group over cyber weaknesses

26 August, 2015 - The Federal Election Commission has refused to release a cybersecurity report over claims that doing so could expose vulnerabilities in its computer systems. Continue>>>

As legacy media cuts back on FOIA, digital-only news outlets step in

26 August, 2015 - Ask any journalist and they’ll tell you the Freedom of Information Act process is broken. Denials are at record highs, navigating the bureaucracy can be a nightmare, and the federal agencies recently killed a modest reform bill.  Continue>>>

The Key Ingredient in Stop-and-Frisk Reform: Open Data

25 August, 2015 - Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts sued the Boston Police Department, demanding that they turn over recent years' data on police stops to address concerns that people of color are being overpoliced in the city.  Continue>>>

Twitter Is Shutting Down Even More Government Transparency Accounts

25 August, 2015 - Twitter has blocked 31 transparency-seeking accounts from accessing its developer API. Continue>>>


25 August, 2015 - The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) has sent its fourth biennial open government survey to its members to identify current trends in public institutions for requesting and accessing public records. Continue>>>

Twitter blocks access to political transparency organisation Politwoops

24 August, 2015 - Twitter has shut off access to 31 accounts that chronicled and archived the deleted tweets of politicians, diplomats and embassies around the world.  Continue>>>

Everything you need to know about how the State Department classifies information

24 August, 2015 - We knew we'd get to this point in the Hillary Clinton e-mail story eventually: examining the nitty gritty of how information gets classified.  Continue>>>

Vermont Government Needs Transparency, Supporters Of Ethics Commission Say

24 August, 2015 - Sponsors of legislation that would create an Ethics Commission in Vermont say they're optimistic that their proposal will become law during the 2016 session.  Continue>>>

Tennessee Coalition for Open Governement: What you can do when you think the Open Meetings Act was violated

21 August, 2015 - Because TCOG gets so many questions and complaints from citizens who wonder what they can do when their elected officials in a local government violate the state’s Open Meetings Act, we’ve set up new Open Meetings Complaint page on TCOG’s website under the “Resources” tab to explain some options.  Continue>>>

Pennsylvania: Phones OK’d to photograph public records

20 August, 2015 - The state’s Office of Open Records has ruled that government agencies are not permitted to charge fees if people requesting public records wish to use their smartphones to photograph the records they are examining.  Continue>>>

Federal Election Commission refuses to release computer security study

20 August, 2015 - Next to the Federal Election Commission’s front door is a quotation from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." Continue>>>

7 steps to securing open government

19 August, 2015 - Push, Pull and Spill: A Transdisciplinary Case Study in Municipal Open Government, a report by the University of Washington School of Law.  Continue>>>

Illinois Public Access Counselor talks about the Freedom of Information Act

19 August, 2015 - The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, has received a lot of attention lately.  As has the subject of public officials using personal e-mail accounts to conduct government business. Continue>>>

Kansas AG, Sunshine Coalition to hold government transparency training

19 August, 2015 - Invested with new authority to prosecute violations of state open-government laws, Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office will co-host a three-hour training session on transparency on Sept. 1 in Topeka.  Continue>>>

Virginia FOIA committee recommends clarifying 'working papers' exemption

19 August, 2015 - A state panel reviewing Virginia's open records laws recommended narrowing one of the law's most frequently used exemptions Tuesday.  Continue>>>

FOIL'd: The pursuit of open records in New York

18 August, 2015 - Headquarters for New York City’s health and police departments are separated by the East River, but they might as well be worlds apart when it comes to transparency.  Continue>>>

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FOI Summit Wrap-up and All Things Summit

2014 FOI Summit from St. Petersburg

Held Oct. 23-24 at the incredible Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the annual conference showcased ideas and insights on FOI, transparency, open government and open data. Read more about the events and important discussions that occurred. Note: Make plans for the 2015 FOI Summit in Denver, October 10-11. Continue>>>

Knight FOI Fund

About the Knight FOI Fund

The Knight FOI Fund offers financial support in open government lawsuits, fueling and assisting the pursuit of important FOI cases. The need arose from the realization that the economic crisis and the evolution of the news media has resulted in declining levels of FOI advocacy. Continue > >

Who We Are & What We Do


We are a nonpartisan alliance of state and regional affiliates promoting collaboration, education & advocacy for open government, transparency and freedom of information. We award grants, publish FOI and FOIA news, provide transparency education and support to state and local governments, supply state sample FOIA request letters and Federal FOIA request letters. Continue >>


2015 FOI Summit Announced

Join the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition for the 2015 FOI Summit on Friday, October 9th, and Saturday, October 10th at The Curtis hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado. Continue>>>

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Occasionally, NFOIC emails notices related to state and local government transparency and FOI.  Please add your address if you'd like to be on our list.

NFOIC and SPJ to combine war chests to fight for FOI

The Society of Professional Journalists and the NFOIC are joining forces – and legal war chests –  to help citizens and journalists fight for public records. The two groups will band together to help litigants who sue for access to government information. The NFOIC can provide court fees and SPJ help for attorney fees. Both organizations also will use their combined national networks of journalists and citizens to apply public pressure to government agencies that flaunt the law. Continue>>>

Sunshine Week 2015 is a success!

NFOIC and state and regional affiliate members recognized annual event and its importance to our democracy.

NFOIC and its state and more than 40 regional affiliate members welcomed the 10th anniversary of Sunshine Week 2015. Our Sunshine Week web page along with the many events and programs offered by state and regional coalitoin members provided information and education about his important event. NFOIC joined the national effort to bring more openness and transaprency to local, state and federal governments. 

NFOIC FOI training proposal receives Knight Foundation grant


October 2014 - The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) has been awarded a Knight Prototype Fund grant to create pilot projects aimed at developing open government training modules for public officials and records custodians, particularly in states where open government training is mandated. Continue...

NFOIC and Knight FOI Fund contributes to successful litigation for news media coalition 

Using a litigation grant from the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Knight FOI Fund, a coalition of news media companies –the Carroll County Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and Scripps Media’s WMAR-TV—successfully challenged the Carroll County (MD) Board of Commissioners under Maryland’s Public Information Act (MPIA).

County commissioners were ordered by a judge to produce all email distribution lists that they use to send messages to select groups of their supporters. The lawsuit began after a February 2013 request to the commissioners by Carroll County Times journalist, Christian Alexandersen, for copies of the commissioners' email distribution lists. Continue>>>

NFOIC/MLRC Open Government Survey

NFOIC’s third biennial joint survey with the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) showed a continuation of trends that are troubling to open government advocates. Just as similar informal surveys in 2009 and 2011 had, the 2013 Open Government Survey found a substantial decline over the last two to five years in the amount of resources devoted by media organizations to FOIA and open government issues.

FOLLOWING THE MONEY 2014 - How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information. 

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