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

September 28, 2016 9:10 AM

On Sept. 12, the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied the City of Claremore’s petition to appeal a ruling that the city violated the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

The city will now owe additional attorneys’ fees to the lawfirm of Ward, Lee & Coats, P.L.C.

In July 2014, Rogers County District Court heard testimony related to an open records act lawsuit filed by Ward, Lee & Coats, P.L.C against the city, for failure to provide documents in a reasonable amount of time.


September 28, 2016 9:08 AM

The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce its incoming class of fellows for the 2016 New England First Amendment Institute.

This three-day institute is open each year to 25 New England journalists and provides the support and training necessary to become accomplished investigative reporters, well-versed in the freedom of information laws that govern today’s difficult reporting landscape.


September 27, 2016 10:39 AM

Amid a growing outcry over police shootings of black men, many states are taking actions to restrict public access to police video shot by dashboard and body cameras.

In North Carolina — where Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot last week by Charlotte police — a new law takes effect Saturday that some experts say will make it more difficult for the public to see video shot by police.

It's one of about two dozen states and the District of Columbia that have introduced or passed legislation in the past two years that impact public records laws, an attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said Sunday.


September 27, 2016 10:36 AM

The Department of Public Safety denied all or parts of 40 out of 59 record requests it received during the first six months of 2016, a Des Moines Register investigation found.  And of the 40 denials, 28 were based on the investigative file exemption - regardless of whether the case is closed, remains under investigation, or went cold three decades ago.

A spot check showed that local law enforcement agencies rarely used the dame exemption.  Des Moines police had no record of any requests it has denied citing that exemption in the first six months of 2016.  The Polk County sherrif had two. 


September 27, 2016 10:18 AM

The Michigan State House of Representatives passed House Bills 5469-5478 on Wednesday to expand and strengthen the state’s existing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) laws by subjecting the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor to FOIA laws and creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).

“Being transparent in government on the front end is easier in the long run because it removes all doubts,” Michigan State Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) said. “This package of bills carefully balances the public’s right to know while at the same respecting the privacy of constituents who want to confidentially share a personal issue or concern with their state Legislator. It’s time to apply transparency laws to how we conduct business here in the Legislature and how the governor conducts business in his office.”


September 26, 2016 12:33 PM

After three years and a losing court fight, the D.C. Council is nearing agreement on releasing records requested by activists concerning the controversial McMillan Reservoir development deal.

The Council in 2013 originally withheld at least sixty records of Council Member Kenyan McDuffie and the Committee on Economic Development which handled the request to declare surplus the prized 25-acre public property on North Capitol Street immediately south of Michigan Avenue. Council lawyers argued they were part of legislative “speech and debate” and exempt from the District’s public records act.


September 26, 2016 12:28 PM

From the DC Open Governent Coalition:

For 20,000 appeals filed each year from decisions in dozens of District agencies, from trash tickets to school suspensions, unemployment denials and Food Stamp or Medicaid errors, the only way to check on your case is by calling the clerk’s office at the central appeals office or visiting in person downtown at Judiciary Square—a special chore for the thirty percent of customers from Virginia and Maryland.


September 26, 2016 12:21 PM

The most recent newsletter from the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC) can be found here.

September 23, 2016 10:18 AM

Twenty years ago, facing a rash of legislation that would adversely affect the public’s right to know, a group of advocates, public officials, academics and other civic-minded citizens began working to develop an organization to give the cause of transparency greater voice in Virginia.

Tonight, that group – the Virginia Coalition for Open Government – marks its anniversary with a dinner in Richmond.


September 23, 2016 10:03 AM

The State Department has faced a deluge of open records requests and lawsuits in recent months, many of them stemming from former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server throughout her tenure at the department.

This year, the State Department has been authorized to hire 25 new full-time staffers to work on processing requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

But only one has been hired, Obama administration lawyers disclosed in their filing this week.


September 23, 2016 9:59 AM

A federal judge released a list Wednesday of all sealed requests made in Washington in 2012 for Americans’ telephone and Internet activity, a step toward bringing more public scrutiny to rapidly expanding secret law enforcement activities.

The action came in a case brought by a journalist to unseal a much larger collection of information about court-ordered electronic surveillance in closed criminal investigations in the nation’s capital.


September 22, 2016 10:16 AM

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal requested by the Daily Press in a yearlong dispute over whether the state’s Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court must release a database of court case information.

The decision was issued Sept. 19, about two and a half weeks after lawyers representing the Daily Press argued that the state’s highest court should hear the case.


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