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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July 29, 2015 12:47 PM

Attorney General Brad Schimel began his first meeting on open government issues by addressing the "elephant in the room."

"Messing with open government laws is like touching the third rail," Schimel told a crowd of more than 100 on Wednesday morning at the Madison Concourse Hotel. "I think that experience ... well, it's been learned recently."  Continue>>>

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July 28, 2015 9:33 AM

BOSTON — Reform of the decades-old public records law is getting strong support on Beacon Hill, but many lawmakers balk at lifting exemptions to open-government laws that shield much of their work from public view.

Lawmakers could vote this week on a proposal filed by Sen. Jason Lewis, D-Winchester, and Rep. Peter Kocot, D-Northampton to limit fees for requests for government records. It directs cities, towns and government agencies to appoint someone to handle such requests and make available electronic versions of documents.  Continue>>>

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July 27, 2015 9:49 AM

Attorney General Brad Schimel is starting the substantial task of updating the state’s open records law at a time when voices of outrage are still reverberating in the Capitol’s halls over a recent unsuccessful attempt by leading lawmakers to significantly diminish public scrutiny.

“This is a big beast,” said Schimel of the task, who has said since he was elected in November he wanted to update the state’s open records law for the first time since 1981 to, in part, better reflect government officials’ use of modern technology.  Continue>>>

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July 22, 2015 9:57 AM

The state attorney general will be holding a summit next week for those who are interested in learning about transparency and accountability in government.

The summit, scheduled for July 31 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Roger Williams University School of Law, will be free and open to the public. Continue>>>

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July 21, 2015 8:48 AM

LOS ANGELES — When the reporter Jason Leopold gets ready to take on the United States government, he psychs himself up by listening to the heavy metal bands Slayer and Pantera.

Mr. Leopold describes himself as “a pretty rageful guy.” He argued recently with staff members at his son’s preschool because he objected to their references to “Indians” and they objected to his wearing family-unfriendly punk rock T-shirts to school meetings.  Continue>>>

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July 20, 2015 9:52 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched the first in a new series of monthly reports to highlight key trends from consumer complaints submitted to the Bureau. The monthly report includes complaint data on company performance, complaint volume, state and local information, and product trends. Each month, the report will spotlight a particular product and geographic location – this report provides a closer look at debt collection complaints and complaints from consumers in Milwaukee, Wis. The reports will provide insight for the public into the hundreds of thousands of consumer complaints on financial products and services handled by the CFPB.

“Consumer complaints are the CFPB’s compass and play a central role in everything we do. They help us identify and prioritize problems for potential action,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “These monthly reports will enable us to share that data with the public more regularly, so that everyone can benefit from the information.”  Continue>>>

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July 16, 2015 1:15 PM

With the 24-hour news cycle and at-your-fingers access to the latest stories, the American people have plenty of information constantly available to them. And whether they know it or not, they are using much of that information as a de facto source for evaluating the effectiveness of government.

Each of us serves as a self-contained big data processor, tagging data elements in our own minds and using the information later to formulate decisions such as preferred presidential candidates, favored legislative efforts, and opinions about policy nuances that we may not even understand to be nuanced or policy-related.  Continue>>>

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July 10, 2015 11:21 AM

DINWIDDIE — Dinwiddie County was one of only 10 counties in the state to receive an “A+” rating for transparency between the people and government.

“When this board took office four years ago, one of our top priorities was to increase the level of transparency in Dinwiddie County government,” said Dan Lee, Board of Supervisors chairman. “The updated rating is evidence of what we have accomplished by working together with each other, administration, staff and the citizens of Dinwiddie County.”  Continue>>>

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July 8, 2015 11:29 AM

The FCC has set comment deadlines on its request for input on whether it should maintain a temporary exemption from enhanced transparency requirements under its new Title II-based network neutrality rules.

Comments will be due Aug. 5 and reply comments Sept. 4.  Continue>>>

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July 2, 2015 9:26 AM

If there's something you want to know and it's considered public record, getting the information is now easier and cheaper than ever.

Significant revisions to Michigan's Freedom of Information Act went into full effect today.  Continue>>>

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June 24, 2015 1:57 PM

The buzzword of the moment among local leaders is “open government,” and chief information officers are attempting to make the hype a reality. In the Center for Digital Government’s 2014 Digital Cities and Counties surveys, one of the top priorities for CIOs at the local level was “open government/transparency/open data.”

Yet, despite the strategic focus on open data, a recent Pew survey on views about open government found that only 7 percent of Americans think local governments share data effectively.  Continue>>>

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June 22, 2015 8:43 AM

Rights to personal privacy and government access soon may be added to the Wyoming Constitution.

Lawmakers meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday voted to have staff members draft a proposed constitutional amendment that guarantees residents a “right to individual privacy” and a “right to know” about public business.

The move comes after the Legislature rejected a bill earlier this year that would have asked voters to approve the privacy amendment without open government protections.  Continue>>>

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