FOI Advocate Blog

The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
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March 28, 2014 9:36 AM

NFOIC member the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is asking Gov. Susana Martinez about the administration’s policy for handling information requests from the Legislature’s watchdog committees.

The questions were raised in response to a story by The Associated Press that Martinez agencies have told the Legislative Finance Committee and the Legislative Education Study Committee to send their information requests to the governor’s chief of staff for approval before an agency will respond.

Foundation Executive Director Susan Boe sent a letter Wednesday to the governor asking if her chief of staff now serves as the “chief records custodian” for agency requests under the Inspection of Public Records Act. Continue>>>
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March 9, 2014 3:44 AM

 It plans to increase the number of producers from the current 23 to as many as 35, as well as boost the number of plants each can grow, adding 300 seedlings to the 150 plants now allowed.

That growth on the supply side may well be necessary, because there has certainly been growth on the demand side: There are 10,621 patients enrolled in the program, up more than 1,500 from early last year.

A recent DOH-commissioned survey had patients saying they were being turned away by providers with empty shelves and forced to buy the drug illegally from street dealers, which shouldn’t happen in a government-sanctioned program. Continue>>>
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January 28, 2014 2:21 AM

Rep, Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said he will introduce legislation to expand webcasting of legislative committee hearings in an effort to improve the transparency of the Legislature. One rule change would require that all webcasts of committee meetings during the legislative session be archived. Session webcasts can now only be watched live.

The second rule change, co-sponsored with Senate Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, would require the Legislative Council Service to begin webcasting all interim committee hearings. Interim committees meet between the legislative sessions and hear presentations on a variety of public policy issues including important ongoing issues in state government. This last summer, there was increased public interest in hearings related to Governor Martinez' shakeup of the state's mental health system.

In 2010, Steinborn sponsored the legislation requiring webcasting of legislative session committee meetings. He said it's time the Legislature take the next step in increasing its transparency and access. Continue>>>
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February 7, 2013 2:54 PM

From The Santa Fe Reporter:

In a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez' office, New Mexico Assistant Attorney General Sally Malavé writes that the governor's office erred in failing to provide public documents in response to a request filed by SFR last summer. The letter says the governor's office may be liable for "up to $100 per day" since August, "the requested records or a denial letter...immediately."

The AG's letter comes in response to a complaint SFR filed last year, alleging that the governor's office had failed to provide public records in response to a request under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.

November 14, 2012 9:12 AM

From New Mexico Telegram:

The latest version of the Inspection of Public Records Act Compliance Guide puts down Attorney General Gary King’s opinion on private emails that do public business.
[...]
 
Gwyneth Doland, Executive Director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, provided a statement on the change.
 
“It is the position of the Foundation for Open Government that email messages are public records if they meet the definition of a public record in the Inspection of Public Records Act, no matter what kind of email account (official or personal) is used to transmit or receive them, and irrespective of whether they constitute “public records” that an agency is obligated to retain under the Public Records Act,” the statement on the official position of NMFOG read.

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is a member of NFOIC.--eds.

June 19, 2012 11:04 AM

From Santa Fe New Mexican:

After a week of taking heat following the disclosure that Gov. Susana Martinez and top officials in her administration used personal emails to conduct state business, on Monday she ordered all state employees in agencies under her authority to use official state email for state business.

[...]

The governor noted her order came following a "productive" meeting Saturday with the board of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. That organization was highly critical last week of government officials conducting government business using personal emails and for appearing to do "special favors for special people."

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is a member of NFOIC. -- eds.

March 22, 2012 4:21 PM

From SantaFeNewMexican.com:

For the better part of the past year, city officials resisted The New Mexican's attempts to bring to the public eye documents pertaining to alleged embezzlement of public funds from the Parking Division.

The newspaper repeatedly requested the documents under the provisions of the state's Inspection of Public Records Act.

February 24, 2012 5:17 PM

A few open government and FOIA news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier:

Open Data Handbook 1.0 introduces open data

To help guide organisations that wish to open their data, the Open Knowledge Foundation has released version 1.0 of the "Open Data Handbook" which "discusses the legal, social and technical aspects of open data". The handbook is targeted at a broad audience, according to the announcement, but has a particular focus on open government data. It began development in October 2010 as the "Open Data Manual" at a book sprint in Berlin, organised by members of the Open Government Data and Open Data in the EU working groups at the Open Knowledge Foundation. It was then added to and refined by a wider group of editors to produce the current handbook.

Visit The H Open Source for the rest.

NASA to open source web operations

NASA, like any other major enterprise, is a heavy user of open source and Linux. Now the agency is planning to open source its main portal NASA.gov and internal Intranet insidenasa.nasa.gov. The space agency recently (Feb 6) posted a draft Statement of Work (SOW) seeking vendors to submit their response to the request for information.

Visit Muktware.com for the rest.

Homeland analysts told to monitor policy debates in social media

WASHINGTON — Analysts for a Department of Homeland Security program that monitors social networks like Twitter and Facebook have been instructed to produce reports on policy debates related to the department, a newly disclosed manual shows.

Visit New York Times for the rest.

NYC makes internal ratings of 18,000 public school teachers available

For the first time ever, New York City has made public its internal ratings of how effective teachers are at boosting their students’ performance on reading and math exams. The release of the data on roughly 18,000 teachers — who are identified by name — came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by The Post and other media outlets in August 2010.

Visit New York Post for the rest.

Official accused of using work email for fantasy football

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A former Hillsborough deputy county attorney has decided to fight allegations that he was using his work email inappropriately to talk about fantasy football. After a conservative activist filed for the emails under the Freedom of Information Act, the question of gambling arose, and now, the attorney general's office is involved.

Visit WMUR 9 for the rest.

Open-government champion retiring from New Mexico Senate

State Sen. Dede Feldman, a longtime champion of government transparency, announced today that she won’t seek a fifth term this year.

Visit nmpolitics.net for the rest.

Bill adding teeth to Iowa’s open-records law has new life

DES MOINES – A six-year battle in the Legislature to create an Iowa Public Information Board has renewed life, thanks to a new floor manager for the bill with a “strong desire” to move it forward. “I think the time’s come for this bill to move forward. Six years is long enough,” state Rep. Walt Rogers, R-Cedar Falls, said Wednesday. “Iowans that I’ve talked to, talk about transparency in their government; I think the common, everyday Iowan needs one place to go to find out some of their answers.”

Visit SouthwestIowaNews.com for the rest.

February 14, 2012 11:34 AM

Opinion from NMPolitics.net:

We all agree that government job titles and salaries are public information. But there’s a discomfort with the names. House Majority Leader Ken Martinez said Saturday that it’s voyeurism to want to see names, and that it represents an attack on public employees.

So why are the names anybody’s business? Because of nepotism and cronyism. Government jobs, from the cabinet secretary on down to the janitor, should be going to the best people for the job—the best-qualified and the hardest-working. Yet we all know what really happens all too often. Jobs are doled out to friends and supporters. One way to combat that is through sunshine—making sure that the hiring process is transparent.

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is a member of NFOIC.--eds.

January 4, 2012 5:45 PM

From The Santa Fe New Mexican:

State government meeting attendees would have more notice about public meetings under a measure backed by Gov. Susana Martinez ahead of the 2012 Legislative session.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Smith, R-Sandia Park, will require 72 hours of notice of a meeting's final agenda — three times more than the 24 hours now required. Supporters say the current law makes it tough for people to plan to attend meetings, especially those that involve travel.

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