NFOIC's blog

Open-government advocates optimistic about Texas legislative session

May 21, 2015 9:47 AM

AUSTIN — Texans are likely to get greater access to campus police records and public meetings online.

But after a group secretly taped lawmakers in Austin, some are wary of legislation that could make it harder to record audio without the consent of all recorded. Read more »



FOIA Council in VA: No on making open records violations a misdemeanor

May 21, 2015 9:24 AM

Virginia won't be adding criminal penalties to its Freedom of Information Act any time soon.

The state's FOIA Council shot that proposal down Wednesday afternoon without even needing to send it to a subcommittee for study. Read more »



FOIA requests to Virginia police sometimes denied improperly

May 21, 2015 9:09 AM

Suffolk, Va. – A review of thousands of police replies to citizens seeking public records shows most Hampton Roads departments follow the law, even if they only release the minimum required. However, NewsChannel 3 found dozens of instances where citizens were improperly denied records, where police cited the wrong codes and exemptions, or where authorities failed to cite the specific reasons they were withholding documents. Read more »



Effort to create FOIA office developing (S.C.)

May 20, 2015 12:51 PM

Government agencies could face a new authority for improperly withholding public records in the face of a Freedom of Information Act request.

But at the same time, government agencies could also strike back at people who make overly burdensome requests for documents.  Continue>>>

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Two state agencies nullify open government laws

May 20, 2015 12:48 PM

In 2004, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 59, one of the most far-reaching government openness laws in the nation. Its premise was that government agencies, when facing requests for official records, should err on the side of disclosure, not secrecy. The law requires laws to “be broadly interpreted to further the people’s right to access government information,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office noted. Read more »



Clinton Aides at State Handled FOIA Requests, Not Experts: WSJ

May 20, 2015 10:24 AM
 
During former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, her political staff personally reviewed and negotiated the release of public records requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — and in some cases blocked documents' release, according to The Wall Street Journal.
 
A Journal investigation found there existed a culture of "delay and inefficiency" at the State Department.
 


To promote transparency, US will release documents seized in Bin Laden raid

May 20, 2015 10:13 AM

U.S. intelligence officials on Wednesday released documents it said were recovered during the 2011 raid on the compound in Pakistan where US forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.  Read more »



Privacy often trumps transparency with police shooting videos

May 20, 2015 9:56 AM

Cameras mounted inside patrol cars captured every moment.

With their guns drawn, Gardena police officers screamed instructions at three men on the sidewalk. The officers warned them to keep their hands above their heads, mistakenly believing that they had been involved in a robbery. Read more »



Senate agrees to open debate on Obama's trade agenda

May 14, 2015 2:38 PM

Senators reached a deal Wednesday to move forward on President Barack Obama's trade agenda only one day after Democrats embarrassed him by blocking it.

Lawmakers said roughly a dozen Senate Democrats agreed to let full-blown debate begin after both parties' leaders consented to tweak the package that failed on a procedural vote Tuesday. Those Democrats' votes were the difference between blocking the agenda and letting it move ahead. Read more »



Transparency needed for S.C. body-worn cameras

May 14, 2015 2:30 PM

Unresponsive democratic governments fail.

One deadly feature of such governments is a lack of transparency. When leaders decided citizens didn’t need to know about the workings of government, citizens lost a lens to determine how responsive government was, often this created mistrust, which led to anger and eventually, rebellion. Read more »



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