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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March 30, 2016 10:51 AM
DANVILLE — State Auditor Suzanne Crouch is traveling the state to discuss Indiana’s transparency portal.
Crouch has met with chamber members, local governments, university students and others to share what is currently happening on the transparency portal as well as to ask for input such as how to make it more searchable and easier for the public to get answers to questions.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 3:23 PM

Colorado’s Sunshine Law is supposed to prevent more than two members of a local public body, such as a city council, from exchanging thoughts outside of a public meeting on matters related to their jobs as policymakers.

But Lakewood City Council members appear to be doing just that in a recent email provided to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 12:47 PM

Max Galka has worked most of his career in finance and insurance. With that work, he had to create models of natural disasters, and to do that, he had to get information on past natural disaster damage.

"And that's really when I discovered Freedom on Information," he said.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 12:33 PM

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky attorney general's office on Monday sided with a man seeking a former police detective's personnel records, saying the questionable motives raised by a police department were "legally irrelevant."

The opinion written by Assistant Attorney General Michelle D. Harrison said the police department in Jeffersontown, a Louisville suburb, violated the state's open records law by denying the request.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 11:28 AM

When it comes to the death penalty, we have opined before that all matters of execution deserve extra scrutiny.

Even when appeals are inconvenient to the survivors of victims of horrible crimes, our legal system has a constitutional obligation, and in our view a moral one, to examine every aspect to ensure that those we are executing have exhausted their legal protections and their rights under the constitution.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 11:06 AM

PRESS RELEASE:  The State Local Finance Board (LFB) has rejected a Petition for Rulemaking submitted by the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (NJFOG) that sought changes to the Board’s procedure for handling ethics complaints filed against local government officials.  Continue...

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March 29, 2016 10:54 AM

“Significant difficulty,”  “obstacles and delays,” no access to talk with women prisoners, and zero response to public records requests from D.C. and federal agencies – these were the experiences reported in new research released Friday (25) by prison reform attorneys who spent months trying to assess conditions facing the 300 District women incarcerated in the Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF) here and also around the country in facilities of the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons (BOP).  Continue...

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March 28, 2016 10:46 AM

Legislation produced and given quick initial approval by a state House panel last week would prohibit public disclosure of most body camera recordings made by Tennessee law enforcement officers for at least a year — and potentially keep video of police misconduct under wraps for even longer.  Continue...

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March 28, 2016 10:32 AM

Commentary:  In a decision filed Thursday, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that committees appointed by public bodies must comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA), and even when meetings are closed due to the attorney-client privilege, substantial OMA requirements still must be met.

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and the New Mexico Press Association filed an amicus brief as to the open meetings portion of the case, which challenged the enforceability of the pay-to-play settlements with the State Investment Council. (See pages 36-53 of State Investment Council v. Weinstein et al.)  Continue...

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March 28, 2016 10:23 AM

Techdirt:  We've been noting for years: when Senator Ron Wyden says that (1) there's a secret interpretation of a law that is at odds with the public's understanding of it, or (2) that government officials are lying, you should pay attention.  Continue...

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March 28, 2016 9:57 AM

Judges don’t like it when someone makes a claim that turns out not to be true in order to get a lawsuit dismissed, such as claiming records don’t exist when they do. The White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) failed to disclose the existence of some records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request until after a federal judge had already ruled in the case.

When the judge found out, he issued an Order to Show Cause on Wednesday evening asking OSTP to explain why the Court should not impose sanctions on it, or permit discovery against it.  Continue...

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March 25, 2016 5:53 PM

The Prince George's County delegation in the Maryland House of Delegates will not meet Friday, but the Democratic caucus of that delegation will. The membership of the delegation and the caucus are precisely the same. The difference is that where delegation meetings are generally open to the public, party caucus meetings are not. 

Caucus meetings in counties with single-party delegations are a popular way for Maryland lawmakers to hash out local issues free from the prying eyes of the public. But the practice, defended by delegation members, raises red flags among advocates of open government.

"We're very concerned any time they use a loophole in the Open Meetings Act to avoid transparency," said Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of Common Cause Maryland. Continue...

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