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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October 15, 2015 12:19 PM

DC Open Government Coalition Legal Committee co-chair Fritz Mulhauser testified Wednesday in favor of legislation that would require more openness in charter schools' business dealings, but stressed the need for broader action so that D.C. taxpayers can know how efficiently and effectively the private nonprofit schools are spending over $600 million dollars a year.

"The board of the KIPP DC schools oversees an annual budget over $200 million," he said, noting that other states such as Massachusetts and Louisiana require charter board members to file financial disclosures that can help guard against biased decisions of the kind that caused two D.C.charters to be shut down last year. Continue...

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October 14, 2015 9:47 AM

The recent Cyber Dust secret text messaging scandal at the Fresno Unified School District is exposing gaps in California’s public records law.

The app allows users to send confidential text messages that are deleted as soon as they are read. Now open government advocates are asking a big question: Are we entering a new age of government officials using technology to hide from public scrutiny? Continue...

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October 14, 2015 9:42 AM

Unmarked police vans equipped with X-ray equipment looking for bombs could be health hazards and the public has a right to know more about them, the New York Civil Liberties Union contends in court papers.

The NYCLU has asked a state appeals court for permission to file a brief in a case where ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news organization, is battling the NYPD over access to information about the vans. Continue...

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NYCLU, NYPD, x-ray
October 14, 2015 9:34 AM

A first-of-its-kind, year-long study by the University of South Florida and the Orlando Police Department has found that body-worn cameras are an effective tool for reducing "response-to-resistance incidents" and serious external complaints.

The study, which ran from March 2014 to February, had 46 officers using cameras and compared that with 43 other officers who did not. Continue...

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October 14, 2015 9:25 AM

In 2013, the city of Tulsa created its Open Tulsa website, which now has 35 datasets published.

The number of datasets, compared to cities that have released 10 times the amount, doesn’t adequately reflect the level of commitment by the city; it illustrates the lack of support and advocacy from stakeholders to demand more. Continue...

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open data, Open Tulsa, Tulsa
October 14, 2015 9:15 AM

Jersey City officials announced today the launch of a revamped online portal that will provide residents easier access to public data.

The new Jersey City Open Data Portal, which gives residents access to a wide range of information -- from city budgets to maps of bike lanes -- includes enhanced data mapping and visualization features, and what officials describe is a more advanced software platform. Continue...

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October 13, 2015 9:23 AM

News Release

October 11, 2015

Contact: Dan Bevarly • 239.823.1811

dbevarly@nfoic.org

 

NFOIC Names New Officers/Board Members at Annual FOI Summit

The National Freedom of Information Coalitiontoday announced its 2016 officers and new board members during the 2015 FOI Summitin Denver. The new officers include:

Mal Leary has been a journalist throughout his life, working in both Washington D.C. and in Maine as both a reporter and editor. He has won numerous awards for his reporting, both in broadcast and in print and currently reports on government in Maine for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.  Mal has been a long time member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“I am honored to be elected president of the NFOIC, a coalition of state and regional groups that advocate for open government, Said Leary. “We have reached a cooperative agreements with Investigative Reporters and Editors and with the Society of Professional Journalists to expand the help we can offer those taking legal action to encored public records and open meetings laws."

NFOIC also announced adding three new board members who will serve for three year terms:

Veteran newspaper editor and FOI pioneer Pete Weitzel was inducted into the State Open Government Hall of Fame.

Recognizing the summit’s financial sponsors, NFOIC thanks Bloomberg and the Associated Press for their generous help to make the summit possible. NFOIC also thanks the official summit sponsors Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, and the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, particularly for its support of the Knight Litigation Grant program administered by NFOIC.

October 12, 2015 7:22 PM

It’s typically impossible to find any San Francisco politician or community group opposed to more openness in government, but Proposition E has managed to do just that.

The measure, a student-forged effort to put live coverage of every meeting of San Francisco’s 120-plus boards, commissions and advisory groups on the Internet, has split traditional allies into warring camps, arguing about how much the city should do — and spend — to open up the political process to just about everyone, both inside and outside San Francisco. Continue...

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October 12, 2015 7:12 PM

Florida Democrats are demanding the public be allowed "real time" access into the behind-the-scenes process of map drawing being conducted by House and Senate staff in preparation for next week's special session to realign Senate district boundaries. 

"This will allow the members of the Senate – as well as the public – to assess the credibility of the process in real time," according to Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner. Continue...

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October 12, 2015 7:03 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the State Bar of California’s annual dues bill, allowing the agency to collect dues and stay in business another year.

But mandates under Senate Bill 387 include new requirements for greater transparency, financial accountability and improved attorney-discipline reporting. Continue...

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October 12, 2015 6:51 PM

The uniquely restrictive New York State law that is used to conceal the disciplinary histories of police officers — even some who have committed crimes — reared its head again last week in misconduct proceedings against the officer who brutalized the retired tennis player James Blake during a mistaken arrest in Manhattan last month.

The state law on officers’ histories is the only one of its kind in the nation. Continue...

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October 12, 2015 6:45 PM

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos plans a third biennial "Transparency Tour."

The tour will stop at 12 locations across the state to discuss Vermont’s public records and open meeting laws with municipal and state employees and citizens who serve on local government boards. Continue...

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