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

October 14, 2015 9:15 AM

Jersey City officials announced today the launch of a revamped online portal that will provide residents easier access to public data.

The new Jersey City Open Data Portal, which gives residents access to a wide range of information -- from city budgets to maps of bike lanes -- includes enhanced data mapping and visualization features, and what officials describe is a more advanced software platform. Continue...


October 13, 2015 9:23 AM

News Release

October 11, 2015

Contact: Dan Bevarly • 239.823.1811


NFOIC Names New Officers/Board Members at Annual FOI Summit

The National Freedom of Information Coalitiontoday announced its 2016 officers and new board members during the 2015 FOI Summitin Denver. The new officers include:

Mal Leary has been a journalist throughout his life, working in both Washington D.C. and in Maine as both a reporter and editor. He has won numerous awards for his reporting, both in broadcast and in print and currently reports on government in Maine for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.  Mal has been a long time member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

“I am honored to be elected president of the NFOIC, a coalition of state and regional groups that advocate for open government, Said Leary. “We have reached a cooperative agreements with Investigative Reporters and Editors and with the Society of Professional Journalists to expand the help we can offer those taking legal action to encored public records and open meetings laws."

NFOIC also announced adding three new board members who will serve for three year terms:

Veteran newspaper editor and FOI pioneer Pete Weitzel was inducted into the State Open Government Hall of Fame.

Recognizing the summit’s financial sponsors, NFOIC thanks Bloomberg and the Associated Press for their generous help to make the summit possible. NFOIC also thanks the official summit sponsors Ethics and Excellence in Journalism, Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, and the John S. and James L Knight Foundation, particularly for its support of the Knight Litigation Grant program administered by NFOIC.

October 12, 2015 7:22 PM

It’s typically impossible to find any San Francisco politician or community group opposed to more openness in government, but Proposition E has managed to do just that.

The measure, a student-forged effort to put live coverage of every meeting of San Francisco’s 120-plus boards, commissions and advisory groups on the Internet, has split traditional allies into warring camps, arguing about how much the city should do — and spend — to open up the political process to just about everyone, both inside and outside San Francisco. Continue...


October 12, 2015 7:12 PM

Florida Democrats are demanding the public be allowed "real time" access into the behind-the-scenes process of map drawing being conducted by House and Senate staff in preparation for next week's special session to realign Senate district boundaries. 

"This will allow the members of the Senate – as well as the public – to assess the credibility of the process in real time," according to Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner. Continue...


October 12, 2015 7:03 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the State Bar of California’s annual dues bill, allowing the agency to collect dues and stay in business another year.

But mandates under Senate Bill 387 include new requirements for greater transparency, financial accountability and improved attorney-discipline reporting. Continue...


October 12, 2015 6:51 PM

The uniquely restrictive New York State law that is used to conceal the disciplinary histories of police officers — even some who have committed crimes — reared its head again last week in misconduct proceedings against the officer who brutalized the retired tennis player James Blake during a mistaken arrest in Manhattan last month.

The state law on officers’ histories is the only one of its kind in the nation. Continue...


October 12, 2015 6:45 PM

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos plans a third biennial "Transparency Tour."

The tour will stop at 12 locations across the state to discuss Vermont’s public records and open meeting laws with municipal and state employees and citizens who serve on local government boards. Continue...


October 12, 2015 11:23 AM

When Ohioans find their access to government thwarted and sue to assert their open-government rights, the odds are stacked against them in the Ohio Supreme Court.

So finds a recent analysis by the Ohio Coalition for Open Government in a report that examines 32 such cases between 2010 and this year. Of those cases, only 12 rulings favored open government. The remaining 20 decisions went the other way. Continue...


October 12, 2015 11:19 AM

Public access to footage from police dashboard cameras and body cameras in New Jersey may be in jeopardy if an appellate court ruling in June is allowed to stand, warns Middlesex County state Superior Court Judge Travis Francis.

The ruling pertains to an exemption of police video recordings under New Jersey's Open Public Records Act, which the appellate court reviewed in North Jersey Media Group v. Lyndhurst. Continue...


October 12, 2015 11:11 AM

llinois law says government officials' emails about taxpayer business are public records for all to see. But what if they're sent from private accounts or personal cellphones?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel argues those are not for public consumption. The Chicago Tribune claims they are, and took the matter to court last month. Gov. Bruce Rauner had his own dust-up this summer over an aide's private emails, and the practice cost a University of Illinois chancellor her job in August. Continue...


October 12, 2015 11:06 AM

The city of Atlanta has announced the creation of three new websites that will give residents access to financial and departmental data.

The three websites, Data Atlanta portal, Atlanta Budget Explorer and FORAtlanta, are an effort to maintain transparency, officials said. Continue...


October 12, 2015 11:05 AM

Did a failed attempt by the Department of Treasury to redact part of an e-mail related to a Freedom of Information Act request expose a state government strategy of charging high fees to discourage requests for public information?

The liberal group Progress Michigan, which was quoted more than $52,000 for records it requested about communications with a state education adviser, says yes. Continue...


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