A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. Be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.
Telegraph Editorial: Nonpublic session gives Nashua a black eye
Nashua, New Hampshire (Dec 14, 2012) - Admittedly, we don’t know everything that took place during the two-hour nonpublic session conducted by Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and the Board of Aldermen in late October to discuss the acquisition, lease or sale of properties related to the Broad Street Parkway. Perhaps that’s as it should be, given that the state Right to Know Law contains a specific exemption for just that purpose.
Visit Nashua Telegraph for the rest.
Mug shots are open record, Oklahoma attorney general says
(Dec 13, 2012) - Mug shots of people arrested by law enforcement officers are open records and must be released to the public when requested, according to an opinion released Thursday by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The opinion came after a request by state Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, and State Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, asking if the photos are open record and whether they must be released in electronic format. The answer to both questions is yes, according to Pruitt's opinion.
Visit NEWSOK.com for the rest.
VA: McDonnell tells state agencies to propose cuts, but doesn’t offer his own
ALEXANDRIA (Dec 13, 2012) - Gov. Bob McDonnell seems to keep two sets of standards when it comes to budget transparency — one for state agencies and another for his office. McDonnell told all state agencies last month to propose potential 4 percent cuts to their own fiscal 2014 budgets, citing economic uncertainty surrounding the so-called “fiscal cliff,” along with Medicaid and state employee health-care costs that eat up a greater proportion of taxpayer dollars each year. A few short weeks later, agencies submitted their ideas, and the Department of Planning and Budget posted them online. But McDonnell’s office made no such proposal for cutting its own budget — at least not publicly. Those details are rolled into an “internal working paper,” McDonnell spokesman Paul Logan told Watchdog.org. The Virginia Freedom of Information Act conveniently guards “working papers” of the governor’s office from the public.
Visit Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau for the rest.
Editorial: Justice in a new light
(Dec 12, 2012) - The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Toano man seeking access to the personnel records of a James City County police officer who arrested him last year. The case is important because it tests how far local governments can go in claiming certain records can be excluded from the public.
Visit DailyPress.com for the rest.
Barbara Petersen, Dan Krassner: Launch Transparency 2.0 to benefit all Floridians in reviewing state budget expenses
(Dec 11, 2012) - Florida Senate president, Mike Haridopolos contracted with Spider Data Services to develop an unprecedented budget- tracking system at a cost of nearly $5 million. That system, Transparency 2.0, is now fully developed and ready for use, but recent reports suggest Florida lawmakers may well walk away, shelving the program. ... The Transparency 2.0 website, if made public, would put state government contracts, spending, government employee salaries and agency budgets online for all Floridians to read in plain language and in one place. Budget transparency reform through the launch of this website would place a significant spotlight on how Florida government awards state contracts to outside businesses, making the procurement process more transparent — and accessible — for Floridians.
Visit TCPALM for the rest.