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

November 4, 2015 5:17 PM

The movement to publish open government data has attracted increased attention through initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership,the new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data — a coalition of over 70 organisations including the governments of the US and Mexico — and the International Open Data Charter.

All of this is encouraging news, but following last week’s Open Government Partnership summit in Mexico we need to think carefully about the challenges of embedding open data practice into government. Continue...


November 4, 2015 5:10 PM

As debates ramp up across the nation over the use of police body cameras, law enforcement officials have taken up a common refrain. Yes, police interact with civilians in public spaces, and those interactions should be recorded with body cameras.

But police work also involves being called to a person’s home on the worst day of his or her life, whether that’s to report domestic violence or a break-in.

In Franklin, Tennesse, walking a fine line between residents’ high expectations of privacy and transparency is paramount, the city's police chief said. Continue...


November 4, 2015 5:05 PM

Around the country yesterday, ballot-watchers were focused on hard-fought campaigns for governor, legal pot, the fate of anti-discrimination laws. The big Election Day news here in Colorado? Believe it or not, it was about a local school board.

The vote over whether to recall three conservative members of the Jefferson County board of education, wrote The Denver Post, involved death threats, outside money, and “allegations of bullying and fake social media accounts.” Amid the ongoing controversy over education reform, it even became national news. Continue...


CJR, Colorado, factcheckers
November 4, 2015 4:18 PM

When federal agencies make grants or design new regulations, they often rely on panels of experts -- including industry representatives -- for counsel. But knowing precisely what these government-created advisory committees are pushing has been shrouded in secrecy: A new congressional report shows that most of the committee meetings are now held behind closed doors.

The analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service finds that last year, almost three quarters of all advisory committee meetings were closed to the public. While President Barack Obama asserts that he has created “the most transparent administration in history,” the number of closed meetings was the highest percentage in the decade’s worth of data the congressional researchers studied. Continue...

November 3, 2015 4:52 PM

The Colorado Judicial Branch released a final version of its open records policy on Monday, fixing some portions that sparked complaints during a public hearing but keeping the judicial disciplinary and ethics commissions exempt from transparency rules.

Despite the changes, a key lawmaker said she will push forward with a bill to put the branch back under the Colorado Open Records Act even after the court modified the rules. The rules address records policies more than three years after the Colorado Appellate Court ruled in 2012 that the branch wasn't subject to CORA. Continue...

November 3, 2015 4:38 PM

The Freedom of Information Commission will weigh in later in the month on whether or not raw collective teacher evaluation data in Connecticut should be public information.

As more and more states make changes to teacher evaluation systems to increase effectiveness in providing meaningful feedback, more and more controversy has arisen on what the best way to do so is. Continue...

November 3, 2015 4:25 PM
Do you need professional continuing education credits for your career? FAF's new online training has been approved for several types of professional education credits!
Florida First Amendment Foundation's Online Open Government Training Program
Can't attend Florida FAF's Sunshine Seminars in person?
Try our online training instead!
Florida FAF's new Online Open Government Training program is a valuable tool for those who use public records, as well as for agency employees and officials who need to stay current on the law.
The Online Open Government Training program meets the open government requirements of Section 112.3142, F.S. for Florida's constitutional officers and elected municipal officers, and has been approved for continuing education requirements for various professional associations, including the Florida Bar. 
Florida FAF's Online Open Government Training program provides a comprehensive review of Florida's public meetings and public records requirements.  
You can take the entire Open Government course or sections just on Public Records or the Sunshine Law.
Once you register and receive your login information, the training can be accessed at any time and remains active for as long as you need it. It provides quizzes throughout the program and you will receive a certificate of completion once you have passed all of the quizzes.
It's online! You can access it from anywhere with an internet connection!
Do you work with public records or open meetings? Are you required to have open government training? Do you need professional continuing education credits for your career? This training meets your needs! 

Florida FAF's Open Government Online Training has been approved for several types of professional education credits:
CLE - 3.5 General Hours & 2.0 State and Federal Government: Administrative Practice 
FBCI - 7.0 Hours
FCRM - 2.0 Hours
IIMC - 4.25 IIMC CMC Experience Hours and .7 CMC Experience Points

CLE credits are available for $50. FBCI, FCRM, FACC and IIMC credits are available for an additional $10.
Training Non-member Rate Member Rate
Open Government - Records and Meetings
Public Records
Sunshine Law
CLE Credit $50 $50
FBCI $10 $10
FCRM $10 $10
IIMC $10 $10
The Florida First Amendment Foundation would be honored to have your financial support and grant us the privilege to fight for your "right to know".
Please consider a well-placed and strategic donation to our 501c3 non-profit Florida organization.
Florida First Amendment Foundation | 800.337.3518 | Email | Website
November 2, 2015 9:28 AM

A Tampa lawmaker has filed a bill that would shield the identities of “witness(es) to a felony” from being released to the public.

The legislation creates an exemption from Florida public records law of witnesses’ “personal identifying information,” prohibiting its disclosure, including to the news media.

State Rep. Ed Narain, a first-term Democrat, has submitted the bill (HB 475). Continue...

November 1, 2015 11:55 PM

Frustrated by the lack of legislative oversight in Kentucky's struggling pension systems, two Republican lawmakers say they are introducing a bill to make the agencies more transparent.

State Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville and Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro want to give four non-voting seats on the KRS board of trustees to members of the General Assembly and to require KRS contracts to undergo legislative review. Continue...

November 1, 2015 11:45 PM

A coalition of public watchdog groups, civil rights advocates and Massachusetts newspaper publishers is calling for quick action on legislation aimed at overhauling a state public records law they say hasn't been updated in more than 40 years.

Momentum for a public records bill that appeared headed for a vote in the Legislature has slowed. At the end of September, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he expected the Massachusetts House to vote on the measure within a week or two.

As yet, no vote has been scheduled. Continue...


November 1, 2015 11:20 PM

The Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill last week that would dramatically reduce voters' ability to know which corporations, unions and wealthy individuals are funding state campaigns. The Senate is expected to vote on a companion bill (SB 292) shortly.

Supporters of the measure say these changes are required by recent court decisions. Don't believe it. If passed, SB 292 would radically change the law, not comply with it. Continue...


November 1, 2015 11:12 PM

Perhaps no other process of government that has such a significant impact on people’s lives is as opaque and less understood as establishing the rules for land use.

To systematically evaluate how land use decisions get made and how they might impact people and communities, more transparency and data is needed around the local zoning process. Continue...


Syndicate content