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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June 24, 2016 12:52 PM

Yesterday at the 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan stood up and congratulated all of the people who have been working to open up the legislative branch of the United States to the public. Ryan also told us — and the online and television viewers — that he'd asked his team to keep moving ahead by publishing all legislative measures in a standard format.

The meaning behind these words may not be immediately obvious to the public. Here’s what’s happening: Congressional administrative staff are now moving forward with making enrolled bills, public laws and statutes at large machine-readable. They've committed to do so retroactively as well, going back to previous sessions of Congress. With time and sufficient resources, digitization might even go back to the 18th century someday! Continue...

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June 24, 2016 12:47 PM

The FDA must produce a list of the documents it's withholding on access to the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp so a federal district court can decide whether any of them should be released ( Goldwater Inst. v. HHS, D. Ariz., No. 2:15-cv-01055-SRB, 6/16/16 ).

The court's June 16 ruling comes at a time of increased interest in the access to experimental drugs for use in both pandemics and to aid the dying. Continue...

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Ebola, fda, ZMapp
June 24, 2016 12:33 PM

Los Angeles city lawmakers broke through a lengthy political logjam over police body cameras on Tuesday, clearing the way for a City Council vote on the costly initiative.

After six months of delays, the council’s Public Safety Committee unanimously backed the plan for purchasing thousands of devices from Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based Taser International, a move that would make the LAPD the largest law enforcement agency in the nation to use the devices on such a widespread scale. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:58 PM

The Congress of the United States did a remarkable thing last week. It passed a major piece of legislation.

That in itself should have attracted more attention and generated more amazement than it did. Even more amazing is that the legislation was approved with bipartisan support. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:49 PM

Government and reporters across Ohio are wading through uncharted technological waters as more body cameras pop up on uniforms amid allegations of police misconduct.

Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, and some other cities have purchased cameras for at least some of their officers despite unresolved questions raised in a Columbus forum Wednesday over what ultimately happens with the resulting footage and where the line should be drawn between police work and individual privacy. Continue...

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June 23, 2016 12:43 PM

State Sen. Don Humason has been recognized by a national advocacy organization that promotes open government and public transparency for his legislative efforts in Massachusetts.

The Westfield Republican recently received a Massachusetts Public Service Award from Common Cause for his work on updating the state's outdated public records law. Continue...

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June 22, 2016 11:37 AM

The Decatur Daily received nearly 50 awards, including two first-place awards for Freedom of Information, in two press competitions for stories, photographs, page designs and more published in 2015.

Winners for both the Alabama Press Association and Alabama Associated Press Media Editors competitions were announced over the weekend. The Daily competed in divisions with other state papers with similar circulation, receiving 12 awards from the APA and 35 from APME, with 20 being first-place wins. Continue...

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June 22, 2016 11:26 AM

The problem with opening data is often a cultural one — not a technical one — a panel of open data experts said Monday at the AWS Public Sector Summit.

As the public sector prepares for a change in administration, experts are looking to codify Obama’s open data strategy in a way that survives the transition. Meanwhile, agencies are still fighting against an internal work culture that is averse to open data, panelists said. Continue...

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June 22, 2016 11:20 AM

On June 13, 2016, the House passed Senate Bill S.337, or the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which had previously passed the Senate in early March by unanimous consent. The bill is now on its way to President Obama, who has already expressed approval of the bill and is expected to sign the bill into law in the upcoming weeks.

Once enacted, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 will make substantial changes to the manner in which federal agencies disclose records and information to the public by amending the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Amendments to FOIA provide for the following...continue...

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June 22, 2016 11:15 AM

Anyone who is a part of the driving population has experienced this: The crushing disappointment of approaching your car, only to see that dreaded white-and-blue slip with an envelope labeled “parking violation.” Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t.

The parking appeals process is supposed to take care of it but in many cases it’s an arduous and just plain counterproductive process with the Wilmington Parking Authority. That’s why Delaware social media star Ken Grant is trying to do something about it. Continue...

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June 21, 2016 10:02 AM

A decade of mayoral opinions on appeals of agency denials of public records requested under FOIA (2006-2016) are now available online. See here. (The D.C. Office of Open Government also includes a link in its FOIA Resources list.)

D.C. law allows any requester who is denied a record to appeal to the mayor. (The requester can file suit in Superior Court whether or not the requester uses the mayoral appeal option.) Continue...

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June 21, 2016 9:58 AM

The Law Office of Nicholas Power is pleased to announce that its client, Mr. John Geniuch, has been awarded the Washington Coalition for Open Government Key Award.

On June 9, the Washington Coalition for Open Government honored former San Juan County Building Official John Geniuch in Seattle, Washington, with the prestigious Key Award. The Key Award is given to any person or organization who has done something notable to promote transparency and accountability in government. Continue...

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