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 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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June 21, 2016 9:50 AM

United States cities collect data on everything from reported potholes to bus ridership to municipal workers’ salaries. With all this info at their fingertips, they are perfectly positioned to take advantage of big data to improve their efficiency and service delivery.

But some cities have even bigger plans for the data they collect. Continue...

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June 21, 2016 9:44 AM

Federal officials professed a commitment to "the highest level of transparency possible" Monday after uncensoring two easy-to-guess names in the transcript of a 50-second call between Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen and a 911 police dispatcher.

But experts in federal and Florida open records laws say much more transparency will come as people seek access to the recording itself and a full readout or recording of three subsequent calls between Mateen and police, totaling about 28 minutes. Continue...

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June 20, 2016 2:12 PM

Gov. Scott Walker's administration is keeping a trove of prison documents and videos to itself, preventing the public from examining information about alleged assaults, attempted suicides and the death of an inmate who allegedly overdosed on heroin.

In other instances, the Department of Corrections is releasing documents under the state's open records law after months of delay — a practice that freedom of information experts deem improper. Continue...

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June 17, 2016 9:34 AM

The House has joined the Senate in passing S-336, to compel agencies to respond more quickly and openly to Freedom of Information Act requests.

The bill would establish a single website for making FOIA requests; direct agencies to make records available in an electronic format; reduce the number of exemptions agencies can use to withhold information from the public; clarify procedures for handling frequently requested documents and charging fees; establish a Chief FOIA Officers Council; and require additional reporting on FOIA matters. Continue...

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June 17, 2016 9:00 AM

Legislation to regulate the release of police dash cam video and to revise the state Freedom of Information Act has died after House and Senate negotiators could not agree to join the two bills.

The House last month swapped revisions to the FOIA in a dash cam bill after a senator halted progress of the FOIA bill in the Senate. Continue...

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June 17, 2016 8:53 AM

Gov. Jay Nixon will decide in the coming weeks whether Missouri should restrict access to some public records.

Several bills cleared the Missouri General Assembly this year that would limit the public’s ability to see police body-camera footage and agricultural data. Nixon, a Democrat, has not signaled whether he will sign or veto the bills. Continue...

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article84310947.html#storylink=cpy
June 16, 2016 2:09 PM

Unveiled in late May, a plan by regional leaders will create a Metrorail safety oversight body with power to investigate problems but also the power to meet in secret and withhold its findings from the public.  See press coverage from the Post and WTOP; the draft legislation is here.

In D.C., the Council could vote on the proposal this summer, but the other two legislatures have ended their 2016 sessions so no action would be expected until 2017. Continue...

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June 16, 2016 2:04 PM

The initial reluctance several months back by Regional Medical Center to release details of a contract to operate its emergency department spurred The Star to test the waters of public hospitals and state Open Records laws.

We contacted eight public hospitals from across Alabama that outsourced ER operations to a contractor and asked for a copy of the financial agreement. Continue...

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