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 28, 2016 10:16 AM

A state senator wants Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris to tell the Legislature how to deal with what he called a “prevalent crisis” in the public trust of law enforcement.

“It is impossible to deny the growing number of incidents involving peace officer misconduct, violence and deadly events,” Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) wrote in a May 27 letter to Harris. “There is clearly a grave problem not only in California but throughout the nation.” Continue...

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June 28, 2016 10:08 AM

Knight News has joined a group of local and national media outlets–including the Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press and New York Times–in a lawsuit against the City of Orlando related to the release of 911 calls made during the Pulse shooting.

After the tragic massacre that left 49 victims dead and 53 wounded at Pulse early in the morning of June 12, several media outlets requested the release of 911 calls made by victims inside Pulse, 911 calls made by the shooter, and dispatch/scanner communication between departments responding to the shooting. Continue...

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June 27, 2016 11:28 AM

More bad news for Hillary Clinton and her ill-advised personal email server. Another set of emails released by the State Department shows the government agency had to disable several security processes just to get its server to accept email from Clinton's private email address. Continue...

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June 27, 2016 11:14 AM

The Environmental Protection Agency won’t release memos and other documents to another federal agency on the latest Rosemont Mine mitigation plan and on the mine’s general impacts.

It’s citing a federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption, to protect what it calls the integrity of the deliberative process. But the University of Arizona’s journalism school chief, David Cuillier, says the agency’s action raises questions about what it’s trying to hide. Continue...

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June 27, 2016 11:08 AM

The Legislature has missed another chance to make government more accessible and open to the people it serves.

Forget the critics who contend changes in the S.C. Freedom of Information Act are championed by the press because they primarily are applicable to reporters in their daily jobs. Legislation aimed at strengthening FOIA is about access for every South Carolinian every bit as much as for the journalists whose mission it is to inform the people of the state. Continue...

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June 24, 2016 3:28 PM

When Sunlight signed onto the 50 Days of FOIA campaign, we expected to be adding our voice and ideas to those of dozens of other open government allies pushing for Congress to pass legislative reforms to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Thankfully, we are now celebrating Congress sending FOIA reform to President Barack Obama. S.337 is currently listed as pending legislation on the White House website. We hope the president signs it into law by or on the 50th anniversary of the law on July Fourth.

The bill that Congress ultimately passed is neither as strong nor as flawed as it could have been, but it’s an evolutionary improvement in the statute that should improve a system that many journalists and members of Congress view as fundamentally broken. Continue...

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June 24, 2016 12:52 PM

Yesterday at the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stood up and congratulated all of the people who have been working to open up the legislative branch of the United States to the public. Ryan also told us — and the online and television viewers — that he'd asked his team to keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format.

The meaning behind these words may not be immediately obvious to the public. Here’s what’s happening: Congressional administrative staff are now moving forward with making enrolled bills, public laws and statutes at large machine-readable. They've committed to do so retroactively as well, going back to previous sessions of Congress. With time and sufficient resources, digitization might even go back to the 18th century someday! Continue...

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June 24, 2016 12:47 PM

The FDA must produce a list of the documents it's withholding on access to the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp so a federal district court can decide whether any of them should be released ( Goldwater Inst. v. HHS, D. Ariz., No. 2:15-cv-01055-SRB, 6/16/16 ).

The court's June 16 ruling comes at a time of increased interest in the access to experimental drugs for use in both pandemics and to aid the dying. Continue...

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Ebola, fda, ZMapp
June 24, 2016 12:33 PM

Los Angeles city lawmakers broke through a lengthy political logjam over police body cameras on Tuesday, clearing the way for a City Council vote on the costly initiative.

After six months of delays, the council’s Public Safety Committee unanimously backed the plan for purchasing thousands of devices from Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based Taser International, a move that would make the LAPD the largest law enforcement agency in the nation to use the devices on such a widespread scale. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:58 PM

The Congress of the United States did a remarkable thing last week. It passed a major piece of legislation.

That in itself should have attracted more attention and generated more amazement than it did. Even more amazing is that the legislation was approved with bipartisan support. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:49 PM

Government and reporters across Ohio are wading through uncharted technological waters as more body cameras pop up on uniforms amid allegations of police misconduct.

Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, and some other cities have purchased cameras for at least some of their officers despite unresolved questions raised in a Columbus forum Wednesday over what ultimately happens with the resulting footage and where the line should be drawn between police work and individual privacy. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:43 PM

State Sen. Don Humason has been recognized by a national advocacy organization that promotes open government and public transparency for his legislative efforts in Massachusetts.

The Westfield Republican recently received a Massachusetts Public Service Award from Common Cause for his work on updating the state's outdated public records law. Continue...

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