mmoore's blog

Texas Senate unsticks proposals to plug public records "loopholes"

May 13, 2017 12:36 AM

With looming deadlines threatening to kill a slew of proposals aimed at bolstering access to public records in Texas, a state senator on Thursday muscled them closer to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk — all at once.

Sen. Kirk Watson’s maneuver came as senators took up an open records bill that had already cleared the House: Watson and Rep. Eddie Lucio’s House Bill 2328, which would give government entities — with employees trained in open records law — an option to expedite information requests under Texas public records law. Read more »



Virginia House, Senate to stream some meetings

May 13, 2017 12:36 AM

The Virginia General Assembly will stream some committee meetings over the Internet next session, a milestone for a body that has resisted this sort of technology.

The Senate announced its plan Thursday to stream from two main committee rooms next year, and the House followed up with an announcement from Speaker of the House William Howell that the chamber has worked toward committee streaming "without fanfare for the last several months."

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Florida First Amendment Foundation: Judge rules for Gulf Stream in battle over public records lawsuits

May 13, 2017 12:36 AM

In what may become a powerful weapon for governments to use to block people from filing frivolous public records lawsuits, a Palm Beach County judge this week said he will consider imposing sanctions against a Gulf Stream man who has buried the tiny town with hundreds of requests for information. Read more »



California water info can remain secret, court rules

May 12, 2017 1:07 AM

Crucial details about the location and depth of certain California water wells can be kept secret, and out of the hands of an environmental group, a top federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Although targeting a specific request for California information, the ruling by what’s sometimes called the nation’s second-highest court could shape at least a few of the other Freedom of Information Act requests nationwide. More than 700,000 FOIA requests were filed in Fiscal 2014, and the question of what can be denied recurs often. Read more »



From CFOIC: Colorado legislature approves open-records modernization, sends bill to governor’s desk

May 12, 2017 1:07 AM

An 18-month push to update Colorado’s open-records law for the digital age culminated Wednesday in the final passage of a bill that clarifies the public’s right to copies of electronic government records in useful file formats that permit analysis of information in those records.

Senate Bill 17-040 heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk after passing the House on a 39-26 vote and then repassing the Senate unanimously, all on the last day of the 2017 legislative session. Read more »



Government Watchdog Groups Say Congressman's FOIA Letters Set "A Troubling Precedent"

May 12, 2017 1:07 AM

A group of government watchdogs sent a letter to Congressman Jeb Hensarling Tuesday afternoon urging him to rescind the letters he sent government agencies informing them about Freedom of Information guidelines. Read more »



CFOIC: ‘Modest approach’ to CORA modernization wins House approval

May 11, 2017 12:50 AM

Legislation to modernize Colorado’s open-records law underwent a significant makeover Tuesday night with a little more than a day left in the 2017 session.

The Colorado House gave preliminary approval to a completely reworked, shorter version of Senate Bill 17-040 designed to satisfy both records requesters and the government entities that have opposed the measure. Read more »



Florida First Amendment Foundation 2017 Legislative Review

May 11, 2017 12:43 AM

The Florida First Amendment Foundation worked hard throughout Florida's legislative session to advocate for open government and freedom of information. They just released their final report for the 2017 session, which can be found with their weekly reports.

The reports can be found here.



These Federal Agencies Agreed To Conceal Some Of Their Communications From The Public

May 11, 2017 12:43 AM

At least three federal government agencies have agreed to seemingly conceal official communications with a congressional committee from public information requests, following letters sent last month by the chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services. Read more »



Secretive Nonprofits Back Governors Around The Country

May 9, 2017 11:12 PM

Optics aside, Greitens isn't the only governor connected to supportive nonprofit organizations.

Groups in Arizona, Illinois and Georgia have sprung up to help the states' governors, while avoiding traditional donation requirements. Robert Maguire of the Center for Responsive Politics said the groups are the "unlimited, undisclosed arm of the administration that basically ... bolsters the agenda of the governor." Read more »



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