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

October 5, 2015 3:00 PM

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that a small group of San Juan County council members did not violate the open public meetings law by meeting informally with county officials and employees.

Affirming a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court said the team of council members working on an update of the county's critical areas ordinance did not constitute a committee of and did not act on behalf of the council. Continue...


October 5, 2015 2:48 PM

The Colorado State University System may propose changing the state’s open-record policy to honor only requests made by Colorado residents.

Michael Nosler, attorney for the CSU Board of Governors, said the idea generated from his office and described it as still preliminary during Friday’s board meeting in Fort Collins. Continue...


October 5, 2015 2:40 PM

Independent from candidates or political parties, political groups are playing a much larger role in state elections than a year ago, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of television advertising data shows.

So far this year, independent groups account for roughly 23 percent of TV ad dollars spent in the seven states with major races. Continue... 


October 2, 2015 5:02 PM

Mayor Rick Lindell said Thursday he will call trustees to set a meeting later this month on finances.

A planned Sept. 24 meeting didn’t happen, with Mayor Lindell saying he’s been busy and there's a “new crew” on the board. Ultimately, he said, he will post last year’s financial report at the village hall and will start doing so on a monthly basis. Continue...


October 2, 2015 4:54 PM

A Sebastian County judge on Thursday ruled that the Fort Smith School District and its School Board were in compliance with the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, stating that the district properly alerted the public in advance of a meeting.

Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge James O. Cox delivered his ruling regarding a lawsuit filed in late July by Fort Smith attorney Joey McCutchen that is centered around a June 23 meeting of the School Board’s Committee of the Whole. At that meeting, a vote was cast to recommend to the Fort Smith School Board the retirement of Southside High School’s Rebel mascot and “Dixie” fight song. Continue...


October 2, 2015 4:52 PM

With eroded powers and under continuing attack, Connecticut's first-of-a-kind Freedom of Information Act turns 40 on Thursday.

After being involved in the fight for government transparency and accountability since 1975, I am often asked what are the most important issues facing those working to keep the government and its information open to the public. Unfortunately, many of the most critical issues involve trying to undo damage to the law done by our politicians and courts. Continue...


October 2, 2015 4:50 PM

About two years ago, Hanna Skandera, then secretary-designate of the New Mexico Public Education Department, started repeating a number. Under the state’s old teacher evaluation system, she would say over and over again, 99 percent of teachers were considered competent.

By contrasting that stat with low student test scores, Skandera was pointing to flaws in the teacher evaluation system and calling for a change. Continue....


October 2, 2015 4:47 PM

The Colorado Supreme Court heard Thursday from a state lawmaker and members of the public who are concerned about proposed regulations that will govern access to the administrative records of the Colorado Judicial Branch.

“This proposed rule does not inspire the trust and confidence of the people,” said Denver attorney Chris Forsyth, who runs a grassroots judicial-reform organization. “It works directly against it.” Continue...


October 1, 2015 3:48 PM

The Ohio Supreme Court, which serves as the ultimate referee in fights for public records, most often sides with the government, a new analysis from the Ohio Coalition for Open Government shows.

The group analyzed court rulings and justices’ votes in 32 open-government cases before the Ohio Supreme Court since 2010 and found that 12 went in favor of open government while 20 favored restricting or denying access. Continue...


October 1, 2015 3:32 PM

As more cities break into the world of transparency, policy remains an important piece of the open data puzzle.

But just how relevant and important is an open data policy to a successful open data program? What does it actually accomplish, not just symbolically, but functionally? Or, to put it more bluntly, why even have an open data policy? Continue...


October 1, 2015 3:22 PM

The court records of convicted juveniles in Iowa should be confidential and unavailable for public review, a move that would help youth who have completed probation turn their lives around, according to a state group studying justice policy reforms.

Currently, court records of juveniles convicted of crimes can be accessed on Iowa Courts Online and from court files. Continue...


October 1, 2015 3:18 PM

Law enforcement officials across the U.S. have become enamored of the StingRay, an electronic surveillance device that can covertly track criminal suspects and is being used with little public disclosure and often under uncertain legal authority.

Now, though, some states are pushing back, and are requiring the police to get a court order and local consent before turning to the high-tech tool. Continue...


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