FOI and Open Government News

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>>>

NEWS RELEASE - 2015 OPEN GOVERNMENT SURVEY TO MEASURE TRANSPARENCY OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

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>>>

Wanted: a Kentuckian who champions the First Amendment and transparent government

18 August, 2015 - The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky is requesting nominations for its annual James Madison Award to recognize a Kentuckian for outstanding service to the First Amendment.  Continue>>>

Reframing the Conversation About Technology and Government

17 August, 2015 - When the conversation turns to government and technology, all too frequently the narrative becomes one of hopelessness.  Continue>>>

Massachusetts: Voters could demand transparency

17 August, 2015 - Voters could decide next year if lawmakers must comply with the state’s open government laws — a move that watchdogs say is long overdue.  Continue>>>

Tennessee: Public hearings scheduled on public records fees

17 August, 2015 - The Office of Open Records Counsel has set public hearings for Sept. 15-17 in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson to gather input on whether citizens should have to pay local and state government to inspect public records.  Continue>>>

How the Census Bureau evangelizes open data

14 August, 2015 - The five finalists in the Census Bureau’s open data challenge showcased their apps during the bureau’s first ever National Demo Day on Aug. 13, highlighting how they used open data from the census to tackle a multitude of social problems.  Continue>>>

Tennessee open records office seeks citizen input on proposed charges for records inspection

14 August, 2015 - State officials are seeking input on whether government offices should be able to charge citizens to inspect public records.  Continue>>>

Florida officials say Gov. Rick Scott should pay $700,000 records lawsuit settlement

14 August, 2015 - The head of Florida’s main open-government organization said Wednesday Governor Rick Scott should personally pay the $700,000 settlement costs of a public records lawsuit, rather than letting taxpayers pick up the tab.  Continue>>>

Reporters demand a more open Obama administration

13 August, 2015 - Dozens of journalist and open government groups implied this week that President Obama has failed to live up to his promise to be the most open government in history, and called on him to make the workings of the federal government more accessible to journalists and watchdogs.  Continue>>>

FOI Followup

13 August, 2015 - Successful litigants in a lawsuit against Florida Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet return the funds to NFOIC and to the Knight Foundation FOI grant program.  Continue>>>

Mayor's Latest Proposal to Limit Body Camera Video Access Takes New Hit: Washington Post Says "More Openness is Warranted"

12 August, 2015 - Public evaluation has begun of D.C. Mayor Bowser's latest proposal for limited access to video from police body cameras, with press representatives, the D.C. police union, and now the Washington Post suggesting further work is needed, especially reconsidering a complete ban on release of any video taken anywhere a person has a "heightened expectation of privacy."  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

About NFOIC

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 >>

NFOIC News

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>>>

Sign up for breaking news and notifications 

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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