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 11, 2015 6:27 PM

Free OPRA Forum in Flemington, New Jersey
Wednesday, Sept. 23 — 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (NJFOG) will be hosting a free OPRA Forum on September 23 at 7 p.m. at the Historic Hunterdon County Court House, 75 Main Street, Flemington, NJ 08822. The site is best known for “The Trial of the Century,” the famous trial involving the 1932 kidnapping Colonel Lindbergh’s son.

NJFOG officers John Paff and Walter Luers will be among four panelists. They will be joined by Megan Jones-Holt, Executive Director of the Flemington Business Improvement District, and Sergio Bichao, an investigative reporter for Gannett Media who is knowledgeable about Gannett's 2009 lawsuit against Raritan Borough to obtain public records in a searchable electronic format.

It should be an informative discussion!

See our facebook event invite HERE and let us know if you’re going! Thanks.


September 11, 2015 6:18 PM

The D.C. Open Government Coalition called on Mayor Muriel Bowser to rewrite her administration's proposed legislation and regulations governing public access to police body worn camera videos. Because of the importance of public access to the goals we share of transparency generally, and police accountability in particular, the coalition asks that you reconsider the plan, which does not include recommendations of the advisory group the City Council established to help draft public access rules.

Kevin M. Goldberg, Coalition president.

Joined by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the ACLU of the National Capital Area and the D.C. Police Union, Kevin M. Goldberg, coalition president, wrote, "You recall that our groups have all taken an active interest in transparency issues in your administration. As the BWC plans developed, we joined many in the community pressing the Council to take a thoughtful approach to the topic of public access, as the Council eventually agreed. Thus we supported the Budget Support Act on final passage for its plan requiring a proposed rule to reach the Council by October 1 and mandating an Advisory Committee of identified stakeholders, including the Coalition. Act A21-0148, § 3003(b). 

"Unfortunately the process has lacked the transparency we believed the Act required, so that it now appears any regulation reaching the Council will lack serious views from the mandated Advisory Committee.   Specifically, the schedule initially outlined  by the Executive Office of the Mayor to the Advisory Committee called for a draft by August 7, committee comments due September 9, followed by revisions leading to the final draft of proposed rules ready October 1. That plan has been thrown by the wayside.

"Three weeks after the planned August 7 date, the Executive Office of the Mayor circulated only a memo providing the barest framework of a proposal.  At the Advisory Committee’s latest meeting on August 27, officials told the committee that the final proposals, consisting of a hybrid of regulations and legislation, would be released much earlier than planned so as to encourage a Council hearing next month. 

However, we were under the impression that the Advisory Committee would also be able to review and comment on the detailed final proposal.

  "We were encouraged by that extra step because the “framework” memo we were given before the August 27 meeting included serious limits on access; the need for further deliberation was clear in that meeting, where discussion revealed the need for further details on several issues. In fact, staff from the Executive Office of the Mayor agreed that it would be premature to rush to judgment on that memo because it was not a detailed final proposal.

 "Yet, when those details were revealed to the Advisory Committee yesterday, there seemed to be few, if any, changes to the earlier framework. In fact, it seems as though the proposed legislative and regulatory changes have moved further back toward the full exemption you originally proposed. And, though this was the first time we were able to review the actual proposal, it appears that we are not being given any opportunity to comment on them before they are made public.

 "We conclude the expert and community members of the Advisory Committee mandated by the Council have been given no opportunity for meaningful input into the details of this proposal before it was publicly released with time for the executive branch to consider them before completing its proposals to the Council.  We are sorry to see that the Administration has essentially used this Committee for show, trumpeting a collaborative process and concessions when, in fact, there has been little deviation from the originally proposed FOIA exemption. Continue...


September 10, 2015 3:43 PM

Lawyers for Pennslyvania Gov. Tom Wolf this week tried to persuade the state Supreme Court that the governor was within his rights to undo the former governor's late-term appointment of a Republican legislative aide to head the state Office of Open Records.

A divided Commonwealth Court ruled in June that Wolf, a Democrat, had overstepped his authority in dismissing Erik Arneson, who had been a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi and who was involved in developing the state right-to-know law. Continue...


September 10, 2015 3:35 PM

A Santa Fe district judge’s ruling on Wednesday afternoon awarded an education group additional money in a lawsuit against the state’s Public Education Department.

The ruling comes after First Judicial District Judge Sarah Singleton awarded damages to National Education Association New Mexico (NEA-NM) after the group accused PED of violating the Inspection of Public Records Act, or IPRA. Continue...


September 10, 2015 3:20 PM

In the wake of disclosures that unqualified doctors performed hundreds of brain injury exams at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Department of Veterans Affairs is now refusing to release the names of doctors who performed initial traumatic brain injury (TBI) exams at other VA facilities across the country.

Without those names, it's virtually impossible to independently verify whether the doctors were properly qualified. Continue...


September 10, 2015 3:14 PM

Oakland County officials are pushing for the Detroit Institute of Arts to open its meetings to the public and publish its proposed budget as long as the museum accepts taxpayer money.

A committee of Oakland County commissioners met Wednesday with DIA chair Gene Gargaro to make the demands at a time when the museum has come under fire for pushing a compensation package for its top executives totaling more than $600,000. Continue...


September 10, 2015 3:11 PM

The city of Louisville's website has achieved a second-place finish in the 2015 Best of the Web Awards conducted by the Center for Digital Government.

The awards are conducted annually and honor city and state websites that try to make it easier for citizens to find services and information online. Continue...


September 10, 2015 2:55 PM

Montana’s continued secrecy with information that should be released to the public is now threatening not only its citizens’ right to know, but also federal money intended to protect children.

As we’ve written in the past, many of the organizations that evaluate government transparency consistently rank Montana among the worst states in the nation. Continue...


September 9, 2015 7:17 PM

The Connecticut Supreme Court was urged on the opening day of its new term Tuesday to draw “a bright line” defining when public institutions of higher education must release findings of professional misconduct and other disciplinary records.

The case arises from efforts by Dr. Jay R. Lieberman, former chairman of orthopedic surgery at the University of Connecticut Health Center, to stop UConn from releasing documents related to another surgeon’s grievance that Lieberman was abusive to staff. Continue...


September 9, 2015 7:06 PM

Hundreds of pages were initially redacted or missing from bid documents made public last week in which private companies competing to run Iowa's $4.2 billion Medicaid program detailed their proposals and why they deserved the lucrative state contracts, a Des Moines Register investigation has found.

The magnitude of the information blacked-out or omitted from the proposals made it impossible to directly compare the bids or evaluate the companies' claims of services they would provide 560,000 of Iowa's most vulnerable residents. Continue...


September 9, 2015 6:56 PM

With a new president in Gregory Fenves and a fairly new chancellor in William McRaven, UT’s leadership has gotten a chance to rebrand itself following years of acrimonious disputes between former President Bill Powers and the Board of Regents.

By keeping its decision-making processes as transparent as possible, their terms have gotten off to a good start. Continue...


September 9, 2015 12:15 PM

An Illinois county has launched a new online system for Freedom of Information of Act requests.

People can now log on to the St. Clair County's FOIAXpress system — a system used by more than 200 government agencies and offices — to submit requests, then track their progress through the online portal. Continue...


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