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 19, 2016 1:45 PM

Louisville Public Media and Kentucky Public Radio have sued the University of Louisville Foundation claiming that it has failed to comply with Kentucky Open Records Law.

In the suit filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court, the media company that runs WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting claims that it requested documents from the foundation in February and that the foundation didn't respond within the three business days allowable under the law. Then, the foundation claimed that some of the document requests were too burdensome.

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September 19, 2016 1:43 PM

NEW YORK - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today officially launched the USDA Branded Food Products Database, a free online resource for families, the food industry and researchers containing nutrition details on more than 80,000 name brand prepared and packaged foods available at restaurants and grocery stores. The announcement was made at the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Summit.

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open data, USDA
September 19, 2016 1:42 PM

Universities and drug companies that use human volunteers for research face tough new rules designed to make sure that valuable information from these volunteers is widely available, not only to the volunteers themselves but to scientists trying to advance medical science.

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September 16, 2016 9:22 AM

The Supreme Court of Texas heard arguments Wednesday on whether to write a loophole into state public records law that would allow government agencies to avoid public scrutiny and disregard basic public records procedures simply by invoking “magic words.”

The court could also decide to eliminate a previous loophole it created, but most of its public records decisions in recent years have favored government secrecy over the transparency that Texas law used to be known for.

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September 16, 2016 9:19 AM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police dash camera videos that are routinely released in other states could become more available for public view in Pennsylvania under a case argued Wednesday before the state Supreme Court.

A state police lawyer voiced strong opposition, saying existing law largely prevents disclosure and warning a change in policy could be costly for police agencies, compromise investigations and expose details about private citizens against their wishes.

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September 16, 2016 9:09 AM

At TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2016, (TechCrunch) had a chance to chat with DJ Patil, the nation’s deputy chief technology officer for data policy and chief data scientist. (they) talked about what he’s been up to at the White House lately, the criminal justice system and a recently-launched data justice initiative.

Since the launch of the White House’s Police Data Initiative in May 2015, 75 police jurisdictions have collectively released more than 150 data sets about policing, including information around the use of force and traffic stops.

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September 16, 2016 9:05 AM

The Freedom of Information Act could be changing in Michigan.

A House committee approved a bill Thursday that would prevent public bodies like the government from suing someone that requests information through a FOIA request. The bill is part of a larger attempt by lawmakers to make FOIA more transparent.

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September 15, 2016 10:29 AM

The Vermont Secretary of State's Office says a quorum of public officials participating in social media like Facebook groups, Front Porch Forum or other online groups brings up open meeting law concerns.

The guidance on social media use was included in the office's annual update to the state open meeting law released last week.

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September 15, 2016 10:27 AM

The Oregon Department of Justice has overturned a 14-year-old rule requiring some state agencies to charge for public records.

The ruling was sparked by the Statesman Journal's appeal of a decision by the Public Employees Retirement System to charge full price for release of public records. PERS asked for $112 to produce the 2015 travel receipts of the retirement system's director and board members. When the newspaper's request to waive those fees was denied, it appealed to the DOJ.

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September 15, 2016 10:23 AM

Should police departments operated by private universities in Indiana be subject to the same open records requirements that apply to state, county and municipal police agencies?

The five justices of the Indiana Supreme Court wrestled with that question during 45 minutes of oral arguments Tuesday as the University of Notre Dame urged the high court to continue allowing it to keep secret all campus police records, especially those pertaining to student athletes.

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September 14, 2016 9:10 AM

Nominations are being accepted for VCOG’s Freedom of Information Awards, to be presented in the fall of 2016. Entries should be submitted by November 2, 2016, by filling out the form below or by mailing the same information to VCOG, P.O. Box 2576, Williamsburg VA 23187.

Awards are given to citizens, media and government for their recent efforts in keeping Virginia state or local government open and accountable to the public.

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September 14, 2016 9:08 AM

The Headliners Foundation of Texas has embarked on a one-year pilot program of grants to reimburse small-market and community news organizations in Texas for extraordinary expenses charged by governmental bodies for Open Records searches.

The grant application process will open September 6, 2016, and will continue until the 2016 Foundation funding for the grants is awarded.

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