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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September 8, 2014 8:15 AM

Libertarians' pursuit of federal officials' text messages may proceed, a federal judge ruled, denying in part the Environmental Protection Agency's motion to dismiss a think tank's claims.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), in response to the rejection of Freedom of Information Act requests for EPA-related texts, claimed the EPA "destroyed" more than 5,000 messages on agency-issued cell phones that contained "substantive agency communications." The EPA, in response, claimed that text messages were not "records" it was required to retain under the Federal Records Act.

CEI, a Washington, D.C.,-based "educational and public policy research institute," challenged the determination in Federal Court.The EPA sought dismissal for failure to state a claim. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer on Thursday granted in part and denied the motion in part. Continue>>>
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June 28, 2013 12:47 PM

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. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

 

Acting ND University System chancellor says NDSU president emails are not gone for good

BISMARCK, North Dakota — More than 45,000 emails reportedly deleted from the email account of North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani at the time of a state open records request are not gone for good, the interim chancellor of the North Dakota University System says. ... The emails are the subject of a state investigation into whether NDSU violated open records laws by deleting emails from Bresciani's inbox that might have been subject to a legislative public records request. The request came during months of controversy over the alleged overbearing leadership style of then-Chancellor Hamid Shirvani, whose contract has since been bought out by the state Board of Higher Education.

Visit The Republic for the rest.

ACLU files appeal in request for city SWAT records

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed an appeal in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court seeking records from the Pittsburgh police department. According to the filing, the ACLU submitted a request under the state Right to Know Law seeking records from the city's SWAT team and on acquisition of "cutting-edge weapons technology."

Visit Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for the rest.

Jacksonville expects fast end to Sunshine lawsuit, general counsel says

A Times-Union lawsuit that argues Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown broke the state’s Sunshine Law could be resolved by late July or August, the city’s top lawyer told a City Council committee Thursday. ... The suit says the pension proposal was the result of illegal secret negotiations. Times-Union Editor Frank Denton filed the suit because state law requires Sunshine cases to be brought by a Florida resident.

Visit The Florida Times-Union for the rest.

Northampton Community College locks down email addresses after records ruling

Northampton Community College will take steps to keep its students' email addresses private after an open records decision required administrators to provide the information to a Bucks County activist. The idea their email addresses could be released for commercial or political purposes outraged some students, who wrote to the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records in an effort to influence its decision, said Helene Whitaker, the school's vice president for administrative affairs.

Visit The Morning Call for the rest.

Governor says he supports open records, meetings, but does not want state bearing the costs

SACRAMENTO, California — Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that he is committed to keeping government transparent but wants to do so without costing the state money. Brown made his first public comments about the California Public Records Act after lawmakers backtracked on a bill that would have made it optional, instead of mandatory, for local governments to comply with document requests.

Visit The Republic for the rest.

Judge orders records in Lloyd case to be kept from public

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. — A day after his co-counsel, Michael Fee, issued an email rant at the media for "a flood of rumors, misinformation and false reports," defense attorney Jamie Sultan made a 15-minute visit to their client's home Tuesday, driving away without a word to the two dozen reporters camped outside the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Meanwhile, five miles away at the Attleboro District Courthouse, clerk magistrate Mark E. Sturdy issued a statement saying that all records handled by his office that relate to the investigation into the homicide of Odin Lloyd have been impounded by court order.

Visit USA Today for the rest.

December 16, 2011 10:12 AM

From Open Channel on MSNBC:

It appears it was legal for Mitt Romney's aides, on their way out of the governor's office in Massachusetts in 2006, to write personal checks for $65 each to buy the hard drives from their state office computers, taking with them government emails and other records of his administration, including information about the birth of the Romney health care insurance mandate.

[...]

"Public officials need an attitude adjustment," said Ken Bunting, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri. "They need to recognize that the instruments of the government don't belong to them. They belong to the people. Self-government doesn't work without information. Government records, including emails, ought to be available without filing a lawsuit, without any more than a keystroke."

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