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 12, 2016 11:20 AM

An attorney for the Medical University of South Carolina says it could cost $275,000 to search email servers in connection with an open records inquiry into allegations that two students cheated on exams.

In a letter to The Post and Courier, the university’s attorney also warned a reporter not to contact members of MUSC’s Honor Council, students or employees about university disciplinary proceedings.

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September 12, 2016 11:11 AM

The Victoria Advocate has won the Spirit of FOI Award for its in-depth look at questionable hiring in the county sheriff's office.

The investigation was conducted using documents obtained using the Texas Public Information Act.

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September 12, 2016 11:08 AM

Open government advocates want lawmakers to fix what they call a loophole in the state’s Public Information Act.

The question: should private companies be shielded from the public eye when doing business with local government? Over the last year, several opinions from the Texas Attorney General's Office have ruled in favor of private companies wanting to keep their dealings with local or state agencies, secret.

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September 9, 2016 9:18 AM

New Orleans is on its way to adopting its first open data policy, which would encourage agencies to release city data proactively

Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order Thursday, outlining the basic principles underlying the plan and directing his chief administrative office to issue a memo outlining the city’s open data policy in more detail in the coming weeks.

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September 9, 2016 9:14 AM

A local activist has filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Public Schools, claiming the District has dodged Freedom of Information Act requests for records related to the ouster of former Blaine Elementary School Principal Troy LaRaviere.

“Government agencies stonewall the public because they think they can get away with it. They can't,” said Nick Burt, the plaintiff in the suit. “If CPS is terminating educators because they are critical of the mayor's wasteful and ineffective school privatization agenda, the public has the right to know.”

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September 9, 2016 9:09 AM

Massachusetts’ notoriously opaque state government is about to get more transparent, with the launch of a website detailing state payroll and spending data.

Comptroller Thomas G. Shack III says his office’s site, dubbed “CTHRU” and set to go live Sept. 14, will give the news media, public interest groups, and others an important tool to uncover waste and fraud.

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September 9, 2016 9:03 AM

California’s Government Operations Agency relaunched its open data portal as open source Thursday, so civil coders and state departments might sustainably innovate on the new platform.

The state started piloting portals with greengov.data.ca.gov and a coinciding codeathon in October, out of which emerged 14 open source applications posted on the online project hosting site GitHub.

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September 8, 2016 1:35 PM

A best selling author and national investigative journalist for over 30 years, Charles “Chuck” Lewis[L1]  will be the featured keynote speaker at NFOIC’s annual FOI Summit. The FOI Summit convenes this year in Washington, D.C. on October 7-8 at the DuPont Circle Hotel.  Charles will deliver his remarks during Saturday’s State Open Government Hall of Fame luncheon.

Charles is a former producer for CBS News 60 Minutes and a reportorial producer for ABC News. He began the Center for Public Integrity from his home in 1989, growing it to a full-time staff of 40 people. He led the Center until 2005 when he co-founded Global Integrity.

He also began the first global network of premier investigative reporters working across borders on in-depth journalism stories in 65 countries on six continents, The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Since 2008, Charles has been executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the largest university-based, nonprofit news organization in the U.S., which he also founded.  In the spring of 2009, the Workshop began publishing in-depth stories about government and corporate accountability, ranging widely from the environment and health to national security and the economy. Its reporting has won eight national journalism awards and involved co-publishing partnerships with the Washington Post, the New York Times, PBS Frontline and many other news organizations.

Called "the godfather of nonprofit investigative journalism" by PBS MediaShift, Charles Lewis’ latest book, “935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America’s Moral Integrity” (2014), explores the many ways truth is manipulated by governments and corporations.

You can register for the FOI Summit online or by contacting NFOIC 573.882.4856.

September 8, 2016 10:12 AM

As the Archivist of the United States announced earlier this week, you can now review and comment on the National Archives and Records Administration’s Open Government Plan 4.0 on Github. The plan covers steps the National Archives intends to take over the next two years to strengthen open government within our agency and across the Federal government.

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September 8, 2016 10:06 AM

A week and a half ago, Attorney General Herb Slatery's office issued an opinion stating that none of the donors contributing funds towards the construction of the new Tennessee State Museum need to be made public, as the non-profit Tennessee State Museum Foundation is not itself a governmental entity. But as the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, not everyone is happy with this:

Gov. Bill Haslam — who is leading the campaign — says the names should be made public, but not the exact amount of each contribution.

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September 8, 2016 9:55 AM

A group of open-government activists is working to get a CalAware-endorsed measure strengthening San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance onto a future citywide ballot.

CalAware’s general counsel, Terry Francke, drafted the original language in the ordinance, which the city Board of Supervisors watered down and then passed in 1993, and voters approved a package of reforms to the law in November 1999.

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September 8, 2016 9:47 AM

An open records case being fought by Attorney General Brad Schimel will go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The Republican who tries to position himself as a strong advocate of transparency and regularly holds training sessions for government officials on the open meetings and records laws is appealing to keep secret a pair of law enforcement training videos made when he was working as the Waukesha County district attorney.

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