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 21, 2015 3:08 PM

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering whether some common public records like traffic accident reports and tickets should be off-limits to journalists in a case that could affect the state's long-standing open records law.

Stories such as former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager's 2004 drunken driving arrest, or other violations involving prominent drivers, might never get reported without access to the names and addresses in such records, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Continue...



September 21, 2015 3:03 PM

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop is blocking release of his meetings calendar because he has an expectation of privacy and shouldn't have to document "every minute" of his time, his spokesman said.

The Jersey Journal in May requested a copy of Fulop's meetings calendar — which lists all of his public appearances, meetings and scheduled phone calls. Instead, the city has provided copies of his public schedule, which includes only public events like ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings. Continue...


September 21, 2015 2:47 PM

Joplin's top legal adviser contends he did not violate the Missouri Sunshine Law when he took an unposted telephone poll Sunday of City Council members on a settlement proposal in the Mike Woolston ethics case.

City Attorney Peter Edwards said he is allowed to call members of the City Council. But an attorney for the Missouri Press Association said there is no provision in the Open Records Law for telephone polls. Continue...


September 18, 2015 10:19 AM

Four days after Michael Tyree was found fatally beaten in his cell at the Santa Clara County Main Jail allegedly at the hands of three correctional officers, an inmate died at another county facility with far less attention.

In fact, it would be two weeks before word of the second death surfaced beyond the walls of the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas and the Sheriff's Office that oversees it. As in the Tyree case, information did not initially come from officials, but through the murmurs of other inmates in the same jail wing. Continue...


September 18, 2015 10:15 AM

California-based OpenGov has launched a new data insights tool that will work with its existing government transparency software and aims to provide government administrators with a clearer view into the whole organization. The new tool – OpenGov Intelligence enables administrators to discover, share, and compare data across departments and other governments.

Working with the transparency software both tools essentially provide data visualizations internally and across governments. OpenGov Intelligence is primarily focused on visualizing financial data, but can be expanded to include other operational data sets. Continue...

September 18, 2015 10:09 AM

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office has ruled that Jefferson County Public Schools violated the state's open records law by blacking out too many details from records showing how the school district handled a workplace complaint involving a former high-level employee.

WDRB News appealed to the Attorney General's office after receiving a copy of the district's investigation of former communications chief Helene Kramer, whom Superintendent Donna Hargens admonished for making an inappropriate comment about another employee on Dec. 12. Continue...


September 18, 2015 9:49 AM

On the streets of the nation’s capital, during a summer crimewave that has wrought more than 100 homicides, a police body camera “experiment” is taking place.

A contentious debate surrounding the city’s 2016 budget may dictate how this experimental program evolves, however — providing what could be seen as a rough model for implementation in other cities.  Continue...


September 18, 2015 9:45 AM

There were a lot of sleepy eyes at the Wilson Building after some D.C. councilmembers stayed until the very end of a hearing on crime that started Wednesday night and lasted until 3 a.m Thursday.

Reducing violent crime and efficient emergency services are two things that city residents seem to be most concerned about these days. In the last 24 hours, both of those issues have been getting a lot of attention. Continue...


September 17, 2015 10:10 AM

North Carolina lawmakers have released a state budget compromise that will make more public safety documents off-limits under an expanded "terrorism exemption" to the state's open records law.

The expanded provision would add exemptions for documents that detail "patterns or practices associated with executive protection and security," as well as prison operations and responses to criminal activity. Continue...


September 17, 2015 9:54 AM

The civil lawsuit between Michigan State University and ESPN over university police reports involving student-athletes could be headed to the Michiga Supreme Court.

MSU will ask the Supreme Court to hear its appeal, university spokesman Jason Cody said. Cody said the request will happen before the Sept. 29 deadline. Continue...


September 17, 2015 9:49 AM

An open government advocate said Tuesday that a missing password that has rendered inaccessible part of a compact disc containing documents of a former state agency chief “looks indicative” of a wider records retention problem in Pennsylvania.

The comments came as the state Department of Education for a second day was unable to explain why it does not have the correct password connected to a compact disc that holds work-related documents of the department’s former acting secretary, Carolyn Dumaresq. Continue...


September 17, 2015 9:47 AM

An Atlanta-based technology company, Utility Associates, Inc., today announced it has unveiled a state-of-the-art software that will blur-out faces and personally identifiable markings such as body tattoos to protect the privacy and identity of victims, innocent bystanders, minors and undercover police officers in police In-Car and Body-Worn video.

This technology, Smart Redaction™, will save millions of dollars in manual video redaction labor costs and further ensure police protection, accountability and transparency. Continue...


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