NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012 12:10 PM

With a remix of the tried and true FOI Friday, we hereby introduce NFOIC's State FOIA Friday, available same time (Fridays) and same station (NFOIC's blog) with a few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

Dallas police defend email retention policy

A Dallas police practice that gives employees discretion to destroy emails permanently has come under scrutiny from open-government advocates. The leader of the National Freedom of Information Coalition said the department’s decision to scrub some emails unilaterally fails the “common sense smell test.” Ken Bunting, its executive director, also questioned whether the quick deletion of certain messages violates Texas statutes on retaining official records.

Visit Dallasnews.com for the rest.

Ohio AG says JobsOhio rules could shield public records

COLUMBUS -- Ohio's top lawyer said a broadly worded bill creating rules for Ohio's new economic development agency could turn otherwise public records private. The Columbus Dispatch reported Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine plans to ask Gov. John Kasich and state lawmakers to reword the legislation. The bill cleared the Ohio House on Wednesday and next heads to the state Senate.

Visit CoshoctonTribune.com for the rest.

SC House approves bill strengthening Freedom of Information Act, removing lawmakers' exemption

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina House approved a bill Thursday strengthening the state's open records law. The bill approved 101-1 a bill barring public agencies, governments and school districts from charging excessive fees for public records and requiring them to respond more quickly. It also removes legislators' exemption from the law.

Visit The Republic for the rest.

Ark. court: Medical-case records not under FOI law

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that the documents an attorney requested from another lawyer in connection with a medical malpractice case are not subject to the state's public records law.

Visit nola.com for the rest.

Connecticut town led astray on freedom of information

Here in southeastern Connecticut, the town of Stonington has in the past few years faced more than its share of complaints over issues as prosaic as labor disputes or as salacious as a lewd photograph allegedly sent online by the first selectman to a Pawcatuck woman. The most recent infraction took place last February, when the FOI panel ruled Stonington violated state law by refusing to release union grievances filed by Zoning Enforcement Officer Joe Larkin.

Visit theday.com for the rest.

County government's notice of meeting was sufficient, in Counsel's eyes

MURFREESBORO — Rutherford County’s government could have posted a notice about its planning commission’s meeting on a mosque site plan at a courthouse or other public building and that would have been OK. Office of Open Records Counsel Elisha Hodge testified that a public building, such as a “bank” or even a “judicial building,” could serve as the vehicle to carry meeting notices to members of the public.

Visit dnj.com for the rest.

Nutter signs open data, social media policy for Philly

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order Thursday afternoon that establishes open data and internal social media policies for the city. Basically, it should provide residents increased access and transparency to city data sets.

Visit NBC10 Philadelphia for the rest.

State Lawmaker Files FOIA Request with SEU

State Representative Greg Lavelle has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Delaware’s Sustainable Energy Utility for records pertaining to the organization’s meetings.

Visit WGMD.COM for the rest.

Washington Supreme Court to hear arguments on 'executive privilege' public records case

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire will have to defend her claims of "executive privilege," as the Washington Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over her decisions to withhold certain documents from the public, which critics deride as government secrecy. Executive privilege is not listed as a specific exemption under state law, but a Thurston County judge ruled last year that Gregoire, a Democrat, was allowed to use it as a reason to keep documents private.

Visit The Republic for the rest.

FOIA changes in Delaware's largest county

Effective May 1, New Castle County Executive Paul Clark says it will be easier and cheaper for people to access public records under the Freedom of Information Act. The county executive plans to sign an executive order he says models the one adopted by the state last fall.

Visit newsworks for the rest.