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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May 27, 2016 1:22 PM

Newsletter of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, a nonpartisan alliance of journalists, civic organizations and engaged citizens dedicated to ensuring the transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.  Continue...

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May 27, 2016 10:07 AM

Officials attempting to open federal financial data are encountering obstacles after a pilot program was delayed and Congress and data advocates made allegations of mismanagement.

On May 16, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del, sent a letter to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan requesting answers about the implementation of a pilot for the Data Transparency and Accountability Act. Continue...

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May 27, 2016 10:02 AM

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has launched an open-data portal that includes data ranging from roadway pavement conditions to rail-facility locations.

The portal is intended to help local government agencies, planning and business partners and the public. The data are grouped by roadways, bridges, rail facilities, boundaries and projects, and can be used for mapping, sharing, charting and more.  Continue...

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May 27, 2016 9:17 AM

Mayor de Blasio emerged from hiding Thursday — after ducking reporters for more than a week — to defend his much-maligned decision to withhold communications with five confidants outside the government.

De Blasio used the word “appropriate” at least 10 times during a Washington Heights press conference to explain why his administration decided to exempt communications with the confidants from routine public disclosure.  Continue...

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May 27, 2016 9:06 AM

Some people not prone to hyperbole are praising the General Assembly’s unanimous -- and long-needed -- passage of a bill leveling the public-records playing field between government and citizens.

Senate Bill 321 authored by Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, gives Ohioans a low-cost method to potentially leverage loose improperly withheld records without the generally prohibitive cost of hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit.  Continue...

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May 26, 2016 12:23 PM

Backers of a measure to open the executive branch and Legislature to greater public disclosure had to be heartened by its unanimous approval last week by a House committee.

But whether the 10-bill package to extend Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act to the governor’s office and Lansing legislators has a shot at becoming law this year seems less than a sure bet.  Continue...

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May 26, 2016 9:58 AM

U.S. Justice Department officials have made 86 different requests seeking mountains of information from City Hall regarding their investigation into whether Chicago Police officers might be engaging in practices that violate the Constitution or federal law, according to documents obtained by NBC5 and shared with the Chicago Sun-Times.

The feds’ wide-ranging requests focus on issues that have surfaced after the fatal police shootings of black teenagers Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by an officer now facing murder charges, and Quintonio LeGrier, who appears to have been struggling with mental-health issues when he was shot by an officer during a domestic disturbance. Continue...

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May 26, 2016 9:46 AM

Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police members underwent open government training Tuesday. 

The Valdosta Daily Times Editor Jim Zachary, in coordination with Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress, led the class on the Georgia's open government legislation. 

“All of our communities need greater confidence in law enforcement,” said Zachary. “You’re partially responsible for breeding that confidence and the way you can do that is by being open.” Continue...

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May 25, 2016 10:24 AM

The University of Kentucky violated state law when it denied a request for details of meetings held by a committee that decides doctors’ salaries, the Kentucky attorney general’s office has ruled.

According to a May 19 opinion from Andy Beshear’s office, the UK HealthCare Compensation Planning Committee is a public agency and “failed to meet its statutorily assigned burden of proving it conducted an adequate search for requested meeting minutes.” Continue...

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May 25, 2016 10:16 AM

Demand for transparency in government is growing as ordinary citizens are increasingly losing trust in their elected officials. In the United States, studies by the Pew Research Center show that the public’s trust in the federal government continues to be at historically low levels, with only 19% trusting it to do what is right. Despite the many pledges that governments around the world are making on this front, including a multinational Open Government Partnership launched by President Obama in 2011, there remain many ongoing challenges in making citizens an active part of the political and democratic process. 

In recent years, technology, along with the efforts of many organizations and initiatives, has provided an unprecedented ability to access and share information to hold NGOs, companies, and many prominent figures accountable for their actions. Continue...

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May 25, 2016 10:04 AM

Although Congress is still struggling with open data, it remains far ahead of state and local legislatures when it comes to releasing data in machine readable and downloadable formats, according to a panel of experts and Congressional staffers.

At a discussion hosted by the nonprofit Center for Data Innovation Tuesday, open data advocates lamented that state and local lawmakers have so far been unable to match the progress that legislators and staffers at the federal level have made in the area. Continue...

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May 25, 2016 9:56 AM

The Open Kansas Initiative is launching a contest to highlight the importance of transparency in state and local government. The Open Kansas Challenge is a crowd-sourced contest for citizens of Kansas to share their ideas about the importance of government transparency, joining a crucial state and national conversation.

“Open government is the very foundation upon which our democracy stands, and all Kansans have the right to access public information and participate in public meetings,” said Ashley All, spokesperson for Open Kansas. “This contest is an effort to demonstrate how critical it is that Kansas have a government that operates in the light of day, not in secret or behind closed doors.”  Continue...

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