Volume 1, Issue 9

FOI InSight, an open government newsletter
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This just in:

Supreme Court rules states can restrict access to public records

WASHINGTON -- States may have little reason to restrict public records access to their own residents, but the practice is not unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Monday. The unanimous decision, allowing Virginia to favor its residents under its Freedom of Information Act, goes against media organizations and professional data miners that had sided with the law's out-of-state challengers. Continue ...

 

2013 FOI Summit: Coming soon!

Everything Summit-related begins and is linked from http://www.nfoic.org/2013-foi-summit, including the confirmed speakers and presenters, full schedule and hotel information.

2013 FOI Hero Award Winner Announced

Brian Sonntag, who retired earlier this year after serving five terms as the elected State Auditor in Washington state, has been selected for induction into Heroes of the 50 States: The State Open Government Hall of Fame. Continue ...

Groups announce FOI Summit keynote speaker and panelists

Waldo Jaquith, the award-winning “open government technologist” who developed the White House’s Ethics.gov tool and an ongoing project to put all 50 states’ laws, court decisions and legislative tracking information on a user-friendly Web platform, will be the keynoter at the 2013 FOI Summit in New Orleans. Continue ...

 

 

 News about the Knight FOI Fund 


NFOIC supports lawsuit accusing government agency of repeatedly violating Washington state’s open government laws

With support from the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and Knight FOI Fund, a public housing resident in suburban Seattle filed a lawsuit this month accusing a local housing authority of repeatedly violating Washington state’s public disclosure and open meeting laws.

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 Members in the News 


Freedom Foundation: Executive privilege documents released

The Freedom Foundation scored an important victory Tuesday evening when Gov. Jay Inslee’s office rejected his predecessor’s dubious claims of executive privilege and provided the Foundation with six documents that Gov. Christine Gregoire had for years fought to keep hidden.

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Frye leaves San Diego Open Government director position

Former Councilwoman Donna Frye, whose appointment in Mayor Bob Filner’s administration caused concerns about conflicts over pension policies, has left her city job to lead a nonprofit focused on open government and First Amendment rights. She has been named president of Californians Aware.

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CAC testimony in opposition to Illinois new bill for blocking sunshine

Citizen Advocacy Center presented testimony at a hearing opposing Senate Bill 2 as amended, entitled “The Illinois Business and Economic Advocacy and Development Act of 2013.” The bill is not “real reform” from the citizen engagement perspective. It will keep the public in the dark about much of the activities of the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation created therein because the Corporation is not subject to Illinois Sunshine laws.

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 Analysis & Commentary 


NEFAC disappointed top military court won’t open Bradley Manning trial to the public

The New England First Amendment Coalition expressed disappointment at the nation's top military court's refusal to open to the public the court documents and proceedings in the military trial of Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. NEFAC is among the 32 right-to-know and news organizations that joined last September in a friend-of-the-court brief seeking access to government motions, court orders, dockets and transcripts of proceedings in Manning's trial.

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2012 IRE Award winners: Honoring the best in investigative journalism

The annual IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative work and help identify the techniques and resources used to complete each story. This year's awards were presented at the 2013 IRE Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The highest honor IRE can bestow for investigative reporting is the IRE Medal.

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Robert M. Nutting elected chairman of the Newspaper Association of America

Robert M. Nutting, president and CEO of Wheeling, W.Va.-based Ogden Newspapers Inc., has been elected as the Newspaper Association of America’s next chairman. The gavel was passed to Nutting by last year’s chairman, James M. Moroney III, during NAA mediaXchange 2013 held here April 14-17. Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, will continue to serve on the NAA Board of Directors as immediate past chairman.

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 News from the States 


Blogger need not reveal sources, judge says in extending Shield Law

A state court judge has extended the protections of New Jersey's newspersons' Shield Law to independent bloggers, even those who crusade against perceived government corruption and mismanagement.

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Virginia's new nuclear agency gets cloak of secrecy

Virginia is creating a new agency to support development of nuclear power – a move that has upset environmentalists and open-government advocates, because the entity won't have to comply with the state's Freedom of Information Act and other laws.

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San Jose to appeal ruling that private texts, emails can be public

San Jose officials voted unanimously Tuesday to appeal a judge's landmark ruling last month that city officials' communications about city business are public records even if sent and received on private text, email or other electronic networks.

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Ga. Juvenile official irked secrecy effort revealed

Emails show that a Georgia juvenile justice official was angered by a writer’s coverage of a bill that would keep some reports of problems in juvenile lockups secret, and she worried that news coverage could derail the legislation. Hollie Manheimer, executive director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, expressed concerns about the legislation in a letter to a state representative that there were good reasons for withholding the names of juveniles, but classifying all the other information as state secrets is a bad idea.

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Appeals court: SPD must pay $150,000 in public records case

A state appeals court has unanimously upheld a judge’s award of more than $150,000 to a man who was improperly denied public records by the Seattle Police Department. In a 3 to 0 decision, the court found that King County Superior Court Judge Richard Eadie did not abuse his discretion in granting attorney fees to Turner Helton, who sought records relating to an excessive-force complaint he brought against officers.

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State FOIA Friday

See the latest State FOIA Friday for FOI and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week. The latest issue includes: One resident, hundreds of FOI requests keep New Canaan (Conn.) officials busy … Indiana public records board rejects IUS student’s open meetings complaint … Burlington (NC) advised to oppose public records measure … CA Legislature kills bill to shield identities of armed teachers … Councilman makes FOIA request to mayor and council, Arkansas … Read more from the latest State FOIA Friday and be sure to check out our archives from Fridays past.

 


FOIA Events Calendar

Check the events calendar for FOI, FOIA, open government and transparency goings-on. Upcoming events includes: Free Florida First Amendment Foundation Webinars, Transparency Camp 2013, Citizen Advocacy Day, The Legal Infrastructure for Civic Engagement, Washington Coalition for Open Government Workshop, 2013 New Mexico Continuing Legal Education Seminar, NFOIC FOI Summit, 2013 Freedom Foundation WA Tour, and more.

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About NFOIC
The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. We are a nonpartisan alliance of citizen-driven nonprofit freedom of information organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys. Twice annually, NFOIC awards grants to strengthen state coalitions and member organizations, foster their growth, and support a broad range of open government endeavors in individual states. The NFOIC also administers the Knight FOI Fund, which offers financial support to defray costs and expenses in open government lawsuits throughout the year.

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