NFOIC FOI Friday for September 2 2011

September 2, 2011 4:55 PM

A few items selected from many of interest in the last few days.

Open meetings change urged at meeting of Tennessee County Commissioners Association

From the Shelbyville Times-Gazette:

Frank Gibson of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government told the Times-Gazette this morning that most state agencies fall under the exact same rules as local governments under the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, also called the "Sunshine Law." It is only the General Assembly itself which operates under separate rules, said Gibson, and that's because the General Assembly is created by the state's constitution.

Visit Times-Gazette.com for the rest of the story.

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Virginia governor weighing legislation to allow public bodies to meet electronically

From The Daily Progress:

The office of Gov. Bob McDonnell is considering putting forth legislation that would bring significant changes to Virginia's open-government laws by allowing public bodies to meet via telephone, video conference and other forms of electronic communication, according to state officials.

[..]

The governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, which focuses on improving government efficiency and transparency, recommended "modernizing" the state's sunshine laws at a meeting Wednesday in Richmond. A McDonnell spokeswoman said Thursday that officials are considering turning the proposal into legislation for the next session of the General Assembly.

Visit The Daily Progress for the rest of the story.

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Board members clash over FOI issue

From The Hartford Courant:

PLAINVILLE —— A debate on Monday by the board of education about the release of information under the state's freedom of information laws turned into a confrontation between two members.

The root of the disagreement was a press release the school system issued earlier this month questioning the actions of board member Andrea Saunders that enabled her husband, town council member Scott Saunders, to avoid paying for copies of 224 documents he had requested under the state's Freedom of Information Act.

Visit ctnow.com for the rest of the story.

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Federal report cites state's wrongdoing in nursing-home ombudsman program

From the Sun Sentinel:

Federal investigators have determined the state's Department of Elder Affairs violated the U.S. Older Americans Act by interfering with what is supposed to be an independent nursing-home watchdog program, officials announced Thursday afternoon.

The findings cite a series of violations, including muzzling the program's communication with the news media and restricting its ability to lobby the Legislature on behalf of nursing-home residents. The report also criticized the department's selection and firing of volunteers who make up the bulk of the watchdog program's workforce, saying that "it must be clear to the volunteers that they work for and are answerable only to the Long Term Care Ombudsman."

Visit Sunsentinel.com for the rest of the story.