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

December 15, 2016 4:20 PM

A newly-formed group is demanding that the Greensboro City Council release all remaining documents in a police misconduct case.

About two dozen members of GSO Operation Transparency, which identifies itself as a “multiracial, intergenerational group of concerned Greensboro residents,” said Tuesday that it wants the full investigative file and all relating written and electronic correspondence in the case of former Greensboro Police Officer Travis Cole released by noon on Jan. 11.


December 15, 2016 4:16 PM

The House in September passed a series of bills that would have extended FOIA to the Governor and put the legislature under a mostly-parallel "Legislative Open Records Act."

The bipartisan effort was led by Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield. But in the Senate the bills were referred to the Committee on Government Operations, controlled by Meekhof. And he won't be bringing them up this session, a spokesperson confirmed.

Moss said he was seeking more partners and wants to reconsider the topic next year.


December 15, 2016 4:14 PM

The North Carolina General Assembly called its fourth special session of the year Wednesday afternoon. A regulatory reform bill filed in the House would create a new exemption for certain information held by the public utility comission, expand two other existing exemptions related to personal information and would significantly change how government agencies can provide access to public records. A separate bill would exempt photographs of people who have been arrested. A third would exempt certain information about community association managers.


December 14, 2016 5:16 PM

A Cook County judge on Friday ordered the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to produce an index of certain emails and text messages that the mayor sent and received on personal devices, as the Chicago Tribune and the city continue to battle over the mayor's electronic communications.

Judge Kathleen Pantle made the ruling in the Tribune's September 2015 lawsuit, which alleged that Emanuel had violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business that he had conducted through emails and texts on personal devices.

The city had argued that those communications to and from Emanuel were not subject to the state's Freedom of Information Act.


December 14, 2016 5:14 PM

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has been awarded a two-year grant totaling $450,000 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in support of RCFP’s work defending journalists’ legal rights in the face of increased threats to press freedom. The funding will go directly toward offering journalists and media organizations free legal resources to protect their First Amendment rights.

The new funding from the MacArthur Foundation will support a broad range of RCFP initiatives, with a particular focus on increasing the organization’s capacity to represent journalists and news organizations in freedom of information and access cases and to assist with pre-publication review, training, and guidance to help reduce legal exposure.


December 14, 2016 5:07 PM

Tennessee legislative staff have destroyed "files, documents, photographs, emails and other information" relevant to Jeremy Durham and his historic ouster from the House of Representatives.

Director of Legislative Administration Connie Ridley said Monday she could not provide public documents and information asked for by The Tennessean because Durham's computers, iPad and other materials given to him have been "returned to factory default settings."

"As a result, any inactive persons’ files, documents, photographs, emails and other information (has) become irretrievable," Ridley said.


December 13, 2016 12:05 PM

Anyone interested in obtaining up-to-date information on the Massachusetts prison population or grant funds going into the state's various sheriffs' departments might be in for some frustration.

An audit conducted between 2013 and 2015 by the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump found Massachusetts Sheriff's Association "did not provide the public with sufficient transparency about inmate populations in various counties, and the Legislature and other state agencies had to expend time and resources to obtain information."


December 13, 2016 12:03 PM

An Oklahoma County judge has agreed to conduct a closed-door review of material that was redacted from records made public by the governor and Department of Public Safety in response to a lawsuit filed by the Tulsa World and a former editor.

The review will determine whether the governor’s office and DPS complied with the Open Records Act when it redacted some material before making the documents public.

The state Open Records Act requires that any reasonably segregable portion of a record containing material exempt from disclosure be provided to the public upon request after the deletion of the exempt portions.


December 13, 2016 11:59 AM

Amidst unanswered questions about the future of open government in the United States, the Senate has provided a unanimous endorsement of a set of enduring principles that the Sunlight Foundation has advanced and defended for a decade: that data created using the funds of the people should be available to the people in open formats online, without cost or restriction.

On Dec. 10, 2016, S.2852, the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, passed the Senate with an amendment by unanimous consent. The OPEN Government Data Act has been a core priority of the Sunlight Foundation in Washington in 2016.


December 12, 2016 8:51 PM

Vanessa Williamson and Norman Eisen, both fellows at the Brookings Institution, co-authored a working paper that "reviews the empirical and theoretical literature examining the international impact of open government, and offers recommendations for policymakers and an agenda for further research on the subject."

You can find the full text of the report here.

December 12, 2016 8:48 PM

The case between UK and the Kernel has been cited by other universities in multiple denials of documents and information, but some universities have released information about the numbers of investigations conducted.

Western Kentucky University and Kentucky State University denied all records in a fashion similar to UK.

Both Northern Kentucky University and Morehead State University supplied some documents related to cases already resolved, including emails sent to the accused at the end of investigations, but refused to provide documents they deemed to be “preliminary.”


December 12, 2016 8:44 PM

Shawnee County attorneys redacted portions of a document that overviews possible problems and solutions at the county’s Emergency Communication Center — an entity that has been plagued in recent years with understaffing and steep criticism from city of Topeka officials.

The redactions were necessary to protect the identity of an undercover police officer and the integrity of the radio system, county counselor Jim Crowl said Tuesday. But open records experts have said the documents should remain open because they were introduced and discussed during a public meeting last week.

The disagreement highlights a growing gray area in Kansas public record law: when and how law enforcement documents discussed in an open meeting should be made available to the public.


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