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

February 24, 2017 11:59 PM

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed the first of a series of Freedom Of Information Act requests Wednesday with the Elkins Police Department to investigate the former police chief's controversial memo. The memo referred to residents as "cockroaches" and read " I want them harassed if you know they are a cockroach!"

The ACLU executive director says they were "shocked" to learn about the memo. The statement reads: "It appears to show a police department that has established a written policy of recklessly violating the US Constitution, using physical violence of intimidate residents and fostering a culture meant to dehumanize people."


February 24, 2017 11:49 PM

An appeals court weighed arguments Wednesday about whether Florida's Sunshine Law was violated before regulators last year approved a 14.5 percent increase in workers' compensation insurance rates.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal did not issue a ruling Wednesday. But its decision will have high stakes: A Leon County circuit judge said in November that the rate increase should be rejected because of Sunshine Law violations.


February 24, 2017 11:35 PM

The City of Atlanta decided to release 1.47 million pages of documents to the press and public—on paper. Mayor Kasim Reed announced the release in a February 9 press conference, after weeks of dithering over open records requests by local media regarding a federal investigation into more than $1 million in bribes for city contracts.

Reed, who said he made the decision in the name of “transparency,” may well have set some sort of open records record, according to government accountability experts. “It’s the most I can recall,” said Joey Senat, associate professor at the Oklahoma State University School of Media & Strategic Communications and author of a book on open records and other areas of media law, in reference to the sheer number of pages.


February 24, 2017 3:15 AM

A state judge has ordered Doña Ana County government to pay more than $90,000 to an Alamogordo-based pet advocacy group for failing to hand over public records in a timely way.

Alamogordo nonprofit Animal Village NM sued the county in late 2015, alleging officials had not provided public records in response to a request made under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act, one of the state's key government-transparency laws. The lawsuit sought compliance with the state law.


legal fees, New Mexico
February 24, 2017 3:12 AM

bill that would make deliberately ignoring citizens' Freedom of Information Act requests a firing offense died in a state Senate committee Monday.

The Senate General Laws committee also voted to shield records related to bingo and other charitable gambling supplies, as well as making confidential engineering and construction plans for single-family houses filed with local building officials to ensure compliance with state building codes.


February 24, 2017 3:10 AM

The Webb County Commissioners Court has joined over 90 counties across the state in opposing a state proposal that would provide public access to court documents online through a statewide database.

Concerns include sensitive information being released to the public and a loss of revenue to the county. The Webb County Clerk’s Office currently charges $1 per page for copies.

County commissioners passed a resolution opposing the amendment or repeal of any current statutes or rules that authorize local control over records held by the county and district clerks.


February 23, 2017 3:25 AM

Crime scene photographs and the 911 emergency call reporting a homicide and an attempted homicide in Franklin County last month must remain available for the public to inspect and hear, a Vermont Superior Court judge has ruled.

During a bail hearing for Ethan Gratton, 26, of Georgia, about three dozen colored pictures were displayed, many on a large screen in the courtroom, while the 911 phone call recording also was played on a loudspeaker for the judge, lawyers, court personnel, police, press and public to hear. Either during the five-hour bail hearing Jan. 18, or shortly after, Gratton's defense team made a private request to the court to seal the photographs, 911 audio recording and other exhibits.


February 23, 2017 3:22 AM

Laura Gutierrez has been trying to get public records from Albuquerque Public Schools for more than a year. In 2014 a school law enforcement officer allegedly used force against her autistic son.

APS opened an investigation and soon cleared the officer of any wrongdoing. Gutierrez wants to see all the documents from this investigation.

In the fall and winter of 2015, Gutierrez filed four public records requests with APS for the district’s internal investigation of the officer, an employee of the school district.


February 23, 2017 3:18 AM

The First Amendment Foundation is warning against dangerous implications of a bill filed by state Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Lady Lake.

“Here’s the bill we’ve been warned about,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the foundation in based in Tallahassee.

She said the bill would poke holes in the Sunshine Law which forbids elected leaders from secretly communicating outside of a public meeting.


February 22, 2017 7:22 AM

The White House has removed all of the information that was previously available through its open data portal, posting a message that encourages visitors to “check back soon for new data.” The old data, however, is still available through President Obama’s archive page, albeit in a format where some of the links are not functioning properly.


The Internet Archive has offered to host all of the data from the government’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, doing so in a statement submitted for the record on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the Judiciary Committee in the House of Representatives. Presently, the PACER system provides access to U.S. appellate, district and bankruptcy court documents for $.10 per page.


Kansas City has shared its Smart City data with 18 other cities, two countries and five federal agencies, hoping to spread lessons it has learned about using data to improve local government performance. These lessons have been learned over the past nine months, the time in which Kansas City’s Smart City initiative has been active.


Fargo, N.D.'s use of data is getting a big boost from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has selected the city to be part of its What Works Cities initiative. Fargo officials say they hope this will allow the city to improve open data practices, making information about local government more accessible to the community.


February 22, 2017 7:17 AM

A bill proposed by the Nevada attorney general’s office to categorize and make it easier to identify exemptions to public records disclosure was met with confusion and suspicion Thursday by members of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee.

Assembly Bill 42 was the product of an interim public records working group to clarify what types of records are not subject to disclosure, said Brett Kandt with the attorney general’s office.


February 20, 2017 8:46 PM

Nevada legislators make public records law, but it turns out they don’t have to follow it.

That could change during this legislative session. Senate Bill 170 would make the Nevada Legislature subject to public records laws, and would expand the kinds of information that can be requested.

But will legislators go for it? Will they pass a bill that exposes them to greater scrutiny?


Syndicate content