FOI Advocate News Blog

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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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July 9, 2015 9:17 AM

The New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (NJFOG) on May 29 filed suit in Union County Superior Court against the Summit Housing Authority and its Custodian of Records alleging violations of the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA).

A hearing to address the OPRA counts in the case (Docket No. UNN-L-1927-15) is scheduled for July 10 at 10:00 a.m. before Judge James Hely, J.S.C.  OPMA counts will be addressed at a later date.  Continue>>>

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July 8, 2015 11:47 AM

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government has named four, including Albuquerque Journal Editor Kent Walz, to receive the group’s top honor for open government, the Dixon First Amendment Award.

The award honors the memory of FOG co-founder and longtime board member William S. Dixon, an Albuquerque attorney and leading defender of the First Amendment and the sunshine laws in New Mexico.  Continue>>>

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July 8, 2015 11:29 AM

The FCC has set comment deadlines on its request for input on whether it should maintain a temporary exemption from enhanced transparency requirements under its new Title II-based network neutrality rules.

Comments will be due Aug. 5 and reply comments Sept. 4.  Continue>>>

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July 8, 2015 9:36 AM

With the launch of the openFOIA website last month, the National Archives and Records Administration has laid out what information requesters and Freedom of Information Act office workers can get from the three main FOIA-related federal websites.

General Service's Administration's 18F released the openFOIA website to give requesters a central location to learn how to make FOIA requests to any of the 100 federal departments and agencies that process public requests for records.  Continue>>>

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July 7, 2015 9:32 AM

Freedom of Information Act requests often take agencies months to fulfill, by which time some requesters from the media or advocacy groups may have moved on to other pursuits.

The Justice Department on July 2 issued new guidance aimed at improving the procedure known as a “still interested” inquiry, through which a FOIA officer can confirm that the requester has not lost interest in obtaining the documents.  Continue>>>

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July 7, 2015 8:53 AM

While California may be home to some of the most aggressively forward-thinking tech companies in the world, that enthusiasm for innovation hasn’t carried over to the public sector. State and local governments have been frustratingly slow to make public data available online. There hasn’t been anything close to a statewide standard, leaving individual agencies to voluntarily develop open data policies, often in an inconsistent and piecemeal fashion, or not at all.  

That would change if the California legislature passes two bills, S.B. 573 and S.B. 272, which would put state and local government bodies respectively on the path to open data.  Continue>>>

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July 6, 2015 3:19 PM

Sparkling new buildings are in the works in the ongoing modernization of D.C. schools, begun in 2006 and slated for $1.3 billion more in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s six-year plan. But the D.C. Council’s auditor reported Wednesday (1) that the program “failed to comply with D.C. Code and lacks accountability, transparency and basic financial management.”

The auditor’s report, covering $1.2 billion spent in 2010 – 2013, noted the accountable government agencies handed key decisions and oversight to management contractors (paid $37 million) with weak review, bills are paid sometimes with little or no explanation and overruns have been widespread. (For example, the new Duke Ellington School of the Arts building may cost 4-5 times more per square foot than a 2010 master plan called for.)  Continue>>>

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July 6, 2015 8:45 AM

In the face of withering criticism, Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican leaders of the Legislature announced Saturday that a provision added to the state budget to gut the open records law “will be removed from the budget in its entirety.”

Walker made the announcement Saturday afternoon in a joint statement with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Joint Finance Committee co-Chairs, Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.  Continue>>>

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July 6, 2015 8:33 AM

So far this year, more than a dozen Baltimore County officers have been involved in shootings in which civilians were killed or injured — but none of the officers' full names have been released by the police department.

Because of a decade-old provision in the county's contract with the local police union, the Police Department only releases an officer's last name, rank, assignment and length of service. The arrangement is unique in the Baltimore region, where most large departments, including Baltimore City's, routinely release the full names of officers involved in shootings.  Continue>>>

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July 6, 2015 8:28 AM

LINCOLN — A judge may soon have to decide whether Nebraska’s public records law can be used to shine light on the internal workings of the judicial branch.

A recent lawsuit over documents related to judicial training has the potential to springboard into the broader issue of government transparency, said Omaha attorney Steve Grasz, who represents the Lincoln doctor who brought the lawsuit.  Continue>>>

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July 2, 2015 9:48 AM

When lawmakers race to pass budgets and bills by working into the early morning hours, as they did Tuesday and Wednesday, advocates of open government say they are working in the dark in more ways than one.

Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center says unless people are inside the Capitol building in Olympia as policymakers craft last-minute changes to important legislation, they “have no idea what’s going on.”  Continue>>>

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July 2, 2015 9:26 AM

If there's something you want to know and it's considered public record, getting the information is now easier and cheaper than ever.

Significant revisions to Michigan's Freedom of Information Act went into full effect today.  Continue>>>

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