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 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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September 14, 2016 9:06 AM

A Dane County judge on Monday ruled a state commission violated the open records law last year when it refused to quickly turn over information about a union election.

“I just find that (this case) is a violation of the open records law. I do believe it is appropriate for this court to enter a declaration to that effect,” Dane County Circuit Judge Peter Anderson said.

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September 13, 2016 10:45 AM

Brett Ryon Hadley, 39, was terminated in December 2015 from the Harrisville Police Department after an investigation into allegations of sexual improprieties dating back to his time as a school resource officer employed by the Pleasant View Police Department and assigned to Weber High School.

Key details of the case were learned only this week after six months of conflict over public access to an Ogden Police Department investigative report.

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September 13, 2016 10:30 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency has violated the personal privacy of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers, according to a unanimous ruling issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

The ruling in American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council vs. EPA concerned the federal agency’s 2013 release to three environmental groups of a vast compilation of spreadsheets containing personal information about farmers and ranchers who raise livestock and poultry in 29 states.

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September 13, 2016 10:27 AM

New York City might never tell the public if the police officer at the center of the Eric Garner chokehold death case is disciplined, the mayor and police commissioner indicated this week after reaching a new interpretation of a 40-year-old state civil rights law.

The New York Police Department recently ended a longstanding practice of letting reporters see a rundown of disciplinary actions, saying officials had concluded it violated the law.

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September 13, 2016 10:23 AM

The Salt Lake Tribune won, in part, an appeal to the State Records Committee on Thursday, requiring the Provo and Orem police departments to provide a report showing any instances of Brigham Young University officers accessing the two agencies' records through a shared countywide database.

Jessica Miller, a Tribune reporter, filed the appeal in July after the two agencies denied her initial requests, filed May 25. The records would contribute to the newspaper's investigation of students' assertions that they were targeted by BYU's Honor Code Office after reporting sexual assaults.

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September 12, 2016 11:23 AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is prepared to go to court to fight a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by NY1 and the New York Post.

The battle centers on the mayor’s refusal to release emails with five outside advisers known as "agents of the city."

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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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