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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October 19, 2017 10:52 AM
Maryland is launching a new initiative to make information on the price and quality of health care more accessible to consumers through the website Wear the Cost. With the platform, the state has taken a decidedly different approach to improving transparency—one that engages consumers in a direct and ongoing conversation about health care costs, particularly the wide disparity among providers in terms of price and quality. Read more...
October 19, 2017 10:25 AM
Can members of the powerful panel that has the authority to put constitutional amendments directly on the November 2018 ballot discuss votes in secret and lobby each other?
 
That is the question Indian River County Commissioner Bob Solari has been trying to get answered for six months. Now, his failure to get an answer, he said, could spell trouble for the commission. Read more...
October 19, 2017 9:58 AM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A judge has fined a central Missouri prosecutor more than $12,000 for failing to provide records to a man doing research for the marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis. Read more...

October 19, 2017 9:54 AM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A judge has fined a central Missouri prosecutor more than $12,000 for failing to provide records to a man doing research for the marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis. Read more...

October 18, 2017 11:59 AM
 
With a lot of sensitive issues up for discussion in New Canaan of late, the number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are at a 10-year high says New Canaan Town Administrator Tom Stadler, who also oversees the finance department. Read more....
October 18, 2017 11:41 AM
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, on October 17, 2017 announced legislation to try to change that and to have the government post the type, dollar-amount and recipients of tax credits. Read more...
October 18, 2017 11:37 AM

Bethlehem will soon be opening an internet portal through which a treasure trove of information — about things such as crime, demographics and traffic — it uses every day to make decisions will be opened up for public review. Read more...

October 18, 2017 11:20 AM

A lawsuit seeking disclosure of FBI files that may detail a U.S.-based support network for the 9/11 hijackers has reached a federal appeals court, which is being asked by a Florida online publication to order a Freedom of Information Act trial on the dispute. Read more...

federal FOIA
October 17, 2017 11:44 AM

News Release

October 17, 2017

Contact: Lara Dieringer • 573.882.4856

ldieringer@nfoic.org

 

The National Freedom of Information Coalitionconcluded its 2017 FOI Summit in Nashville over the weekend. The annual two-day event features presentations from FOI experts and practitioners on trending FOI and open government issues in public institutions at the state and local levels. Summit attendees include NFOIC’s state coalition directors, journalists, media lawyers and first amendment watchdogs. The Tennessee Coalition of Open Government served as summit co-host.

This year’s gathering highlighted key FOI challenges emerging in state and local governments including:

  • Growing use of private communication and information sharing devices (personal email, texting, cell phones and web apps) by public officials to conduct government business that circumvent public records laws;
  • Reverse FOI lawsuits where third parties intervene or governments sue the requester to block release of public records, forcing requesters to hire attorneys to defend themselves; and
  • A troubling development of government entities keeping information in government contracts with business secret, in some cases, even the dollar amount of the contracts.

"The battle to assure all Americans have access to their government continues and is more important than ever,” said Mal Leary, President of the NFOIC. "In state after state we are seeing an assault on transparency that threatens the very foundation of democracy."

Each year, the summit includes the induction ceremony of a new member into the State Open Government Hall of Fame, a joint initiative of NFOIC and the Society of Professional Journalists. This year’s inductee is Michael Giudicessi, a longtime First Amendment attorney from Iowa.  Jameel Jaffer, founding director of the Knight First Amendment Institute and expert on free speech, privacy, technology, national security, and international human rights provided the keynote address. 

NFOIC announced a new state affiliate from Nebraska to join the coalition, and two new board directors:

Board member and secretary, Megan Rhyne, executive director of the Virginia Coalition of Open Government, was elected to vice president of the board. Board member Deborah Fisher, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government was elected secretary.

NFOIC recognizes and greatly appreciates the summit’s financial and in-kind sponsors and thanks Bloomberg LP (Platinum), the Charles Koch Institute (Gold), John the John S. and James L Knight Foundation (Official), the Society of Professional Journalists/SDX Foundation (Official), and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism (Official) for their generous support. 

October 17, 2017 10:59 AM
The SPCA of Bradley County voted 4-2 Monday night to remove SPCA President Tim Waldrop from the board.
 
The action stems from Waldrop's attempt to ask the public to leave its previous meeting when an attempt was made to add the item of removing him from the board to the agenda.Read more...
tennessee foi
October 17, 2017 10:15 AM

For several legislative sessions, David Rosenberg, of Norfolk, a retired MIT computer scientist, has pushed a bill that would revise the open meeting law to allow online deliberation by public bodies.

In the past, the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association has opposed the bill because many citizens are either not online or not internet-savvy, and therefore would be disenfranchised. Indeed, there is still widespread lack of broadband access in many rural communities.
 
More recently, however, the publishers association is reconsidering its opposition because the bill may make government more accessible and transparent. Read more...
October 17, 2017 10:00 AM

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration has not yet fulfilled a series of information requests from the lawyer the city of Charlottesville hired to review the violent white nationalist rally in August and how public officials planned for the danger that came with it. Read more...

virginia FOIA
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