NFOIC's blog

Body-camera maker has financial ties to police chiefs

March 3, 2015 1:35 PM

Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices, raising a host of conflict-of-interest questions.

A review of records and interviews by The Associated Press show Taser is covering airfare and hotel stays for police chiefs who speak at promotional conferences. It is also hiring recently retired chiefs as consultants, sometimes just months after their cities signed contracts with Taser. Read more »

State law makes it harder for taxpayers to find out about legal settlements by public bodies

March 3, 2015 1:24 PM

The Beecher School District paid nearly $250,000 to avoid two lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct by a former public school administrator.

But no lawsuit was ever filed, so taxpayers did not have easy access to this information because of a state law that allows public bodies to enter into non-disclosure clauses that bar either side from discussing specifics of a case. Read more »

Lawmakers' latest FOIA reform effort would strengthen governmentwide ombudsman

March 3, 2015 1:16 PM

When Congress last updated federal open government laws in 2007, it created a new ombudsman intended to serve as an honest broker between Freedom of Information Act requestors and agencies. But unlike most other ombudsmen, this one works for one of the parties in the disputes it's supposed to mediate. Pending legislation would change that by making the Office of Government Information services (OGIS) truly independent from the executive branch. Read more »

Editorial: Proposed law would lessen Illinois governmental transparency

March 3, 2015 1:05 PM

Some lawmakers in Springfield are again trying to make government less transparent.

State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, a Republican from Rockford, has filed House Bill 261. If passed, it will end the publication of all public notices in newspapers in favor of government websites. The legislation states that when a law, court order, or contract requires a governmental unit to provide notice by publication in a newspaper, that governmental unit may publish the notice on an official government website instead of in a newspaper. Read more »

Attorney general okays release of former treasurer employee's records

March 3, 2015 1:02 PM

A formal opinion from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today says that most of former state treasurer employee Sam Swayze's records should be released as the office custodian of records intended to do.

Swayze is Treasurer Dennis Milligan's first cousin. He was hired despite a state law prohibiting Milligan from hiring his first cousin. Milligan has said he didn't know of the law and dismissed Swayze from his $63,000 job after learning it was illegal. Freedom of Information Act requests were made for Swayze's personnel records. Swayze objected. Read more »

Highland Mining, WVU to argue FOIA case

March 3, 2015 12:57 PM

Years after one of its researchers published studies linking mountaintop mining to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses, West Virginia University must defend its refusal to release thousands of documents pertaining to the studies a mining company requested under the Freedom of Information Act. Read more »

Judge rules in favor of Davenport in open records case

March 3, 2015 12:52 PM

Iowa District Court Judge Stuart Werling ruled Thursday in favor of Davenport in a Freedom of Information Act case.

Judge Werling said the city "substantially complied" with requests by Dr. Allen Diercks and Patricia Lane for public records related to work done by the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche LLC, from Dec. 12, 2012 to March 8, 2013. Read more »

Rep. Corley stands by ‘no’ vote on FOIA bill

March 2, 2015 1:25 AM

S.C. Rep. Chris Corley maintains that a recently passed bill in the House would put unnecessary time constraints on government entities to process information requests.

Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt, however, said the time constraints can be overlooked because of a bigger compromise on the bill, which restricts inmates from filing Freedom of Information requests. Read more »

Editorial: Approve HB1153 to strengthen open meetings laws

March 2, 2015 1:22 AM

Honesty, decency and forthrightness are among the values that define South Dakotans. Another core value is a fundamental belief in the public’s right to know about their government. South Dakotans believe the public’s business should be conducted in public view.

That principle in government transparency is embedded in South Dakota’s open meetings laws, which date back more than a half century and direct state and local government boards on how they should conduct business in public. Read more »

Oakley releases list in response to request for police donor info, but some on the list say they don't belong there

March 2, 2015 1:17 AM

The village of Oakley has released 13 pages of names and financial information in response to a Saginaw News request for the names of donors to the Oakley Police Department.

However, at least some of those listed, including Saginaw County 911, deny donating to the department. Read more »

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