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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June 7, 2016 2:11 PM

We are a team of scholars, designers, scientists, and engineers building tools to preserve the fabric of the past and provide lessons for the future.  Continue...

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June 7, 2016 2:06 PM

With technical barriers soon to be cleared away, all that remains is working out access policies for the public to get court records online just as easily as at the courthouse.

This was the consensus in remarks Monday (6) at a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Council for Court Excellence at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law featuring four judges under consideration to be the next chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court—Judith Bartnoff, Erik Christian, Robert Morin and Hiram Puig-Lugo. Continue...

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June 7, 2016 2:02 PM

New York's taxpayer-funded weather system has dropped its $250 fee for data requests after Syracuse.com pointed out that policy might violate the state's Freedom of Information Law.

The weather system, called the New York State Mesonet, also dropped many restrictions on the data after the story ran Friday morning.  Continue...

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June 7, 2016 1:41 PM

Missouri Representative Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg) is sponsoring House Bill 1414, which would make "any data collected for the purpose of animal health or environmental protection" a closed record and therefore exempt from not only Missouri's Sunshine Law, but the federal Freedom of Information Act. He is also chair of the committee.

The bill is currently under fire by several organizations including the Missouri Press Association and the Human Society of the United States for its vague wording. Continue...

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June 6, 2016 11:33 AM

Judge Amit Mehta handed the Obama administration a defeat in court in a case involving the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ruling the White House showed bad faith in withholding information and data underpinning John Holdren's claim global warming was making winters colder. Holdren is the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director.

In response to a FOIA request by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), OSTP initially claimed it found just 11 pages of documents, none of which included drafts of the director’s final conclusions. Continue...

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June 6, 2016 11:21 AM

The Valdosta Daily Times is humbled and honored to once again be recognized as one of Georgia’s best newspapers. 

The Georgia Press Association recognized The Times with 16 prestigious awards at its annual Better Newspaper Contest Awards Ceremony at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel Friday evening. Continue...

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June 6, 2016 11:12 AM

At one point, when our state Freedom of Information Advisory Council was mulling over the question of when and why elected bodies ought to discuss matters in secret, one local government lobbyist noted that it was important to keep doors closed in order to, as he put it, "keep the stupid in the room."

It was a telling comment. A bit disturbing too, for those of us who still have faith that we elect serious men and women to undertake the serious work of governing our communities, continue...

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June 6, 2016 10:08 AM

Senator Chuck Grassley says checkoff programs should not be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

Grassley spoke to reporters in a conference call Thursday saying Ag commodity groups such as checkoff programs, should be subject to FOIA.  Continue...

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June 6, 2016 10:01 AM

A New York State appeals court unanimously ruled Thursday that the New York Police Department (NYPD) does not need to disclose records relating to investigations or surveillance of a Harlem imam and a Rutgers University student.

Talib W. Abdur-Rashid, the imam, and Samir Hashmi, the student, had made their requests in 2012 under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The NYPD, however, invoked what is known as the Glomar response, a rule that allows agencies to neither confirm nor deny the existence of records if doing so would harm law enforcement efforts.  Continue...

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June 3, 2016 12:55 PM

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law today legislation that will improve access to public records and provide recourse to citizens unjustly denied government information.

The New England First Amendment Coalition, a steering member of the Massachusetts Freedom of Information Alliance, has been a leader in the effort to reform the state’s current public records statute, a law not significantly updated in more than 40 years and widely considered to be one of the worst in the nation.  Continue...

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June 3, 2016 9:55 AM

The first survey to focus on the newsgathering experiences of health care journalists has found that the federal government often blocks access to information, supporting assertions that the Obama administration has failed to keep its promise of transparency.

The Association of Health Care Journalists asked its members about access to information at all levels of government. Respondents were more likely to seek information from federal agencies than from state or local governments – and they were more likely to encounter roadblocks at the federal level.  Continue...

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June 3, 2016 9:47 AM

EFF on Wednesday asked a Washington state trial court to lift its order that forced the public records website MuckRock to take down documents one of its users had lawfully obtained.

The motion EFF filed on behalf of MuckRock and its co-founder, Michael Morisy, argues that the court order requiring the site to de-publish these public records was an unconstitutional prior restraint.  Continue...

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