NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for January 11, 2013

January 11, 2013 1:51 PM

Image of keyboard key "Access"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. While you're at it, be sure to check out State FOIA Friday Archives.

University of Iowa ordered to release settlement agreement

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa must release a settlement agreement with a former medical school employee who was allowed to quietly resign after a personnel dispute, a state appeals panel ruled yesterday. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled the settlement with the former employee is a public record and should be released in response to an open-records request by the Associated Press, which was filed nearly two years ago. The public has the right to know how university money is used to settle disputes among faculty members, the court added.

Visit First Amendment Center for the rest.

Incoming Indiana governor plans 'transparency portal' for public to track economic development activities

INDIANAPOLIS — Incoming Gov. Mike Pence plans to launch a new "transparency portal" this spring to enable the public to track Indiana's economic development spending and the jobs created by companies that receive those tax credits and incentives. He said Thursday that money to pay for the portal's launch will be included in the two-year budget his administration will present to state lawmakers next week. He said the Indiana Economic Development Corp. is already working on the effort, and said the portal will provide "specific information having to do with incentives and outcomes" once businesses announce their plans to add jobs.

Visit Evansville Courier & Press for the rest.

Idaho governor says new state website is public records request 'on steroids'

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Controller Brandon Woolf announced http://transparent.idaho.gov Thursday. Otter said the site was akin to public records requests "on steroids," while Woolf said the site's information would be updated nightly, to provide up-to-the-day snapshots of what's happening in state government.

Visit KBOI2.com for the rest.

Opinion from Blytheville Courier News: Reviewing Arkansas' open government law

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is vital to ensuring an open, transparent government. FOIA is a tool used by the news media to keep the public informed of the public's business, but it is not exclusively for the media. The law is also there for Joe Citizen to get a copy of a police report, to be notified of public meetings at least two hours in advance, to look at financial figures, etc. ... The entire FOIA handbook is available at http://www.arkansaspress.org/publications/38-foi-handbook, but here are a few general questions and answers from the handbook.

Visit Blytheville Courier News for the rest.

Madison (Wis.) launches open data platform

Madison, Wis., is changing things up -- all in an effort to promote innovation and economic growth in the city. On Jan. 8, city officials announced the launch of its open data ordinance and a more accessible open data platform. Thus far, only one other city in the country, New York City, has implemented an ordinance mandating widespread government release of data, according to officials. The city, officials said, is making open data projects a high priority. The new ordinance will require agencies to eventually release most of their data in raw format and make it available for download through the city's new open data Web portal.

Visit Government Technology for the rest.

Lakeland (Fl.) Police Department may be violating Florida's public records law

The Lakeland Police Department may be violating Florida's public records law by refusing to provide The Ledger documents requested on seven teenagers, according to Tampa lawyer Gregg Thomas, who represents the newspaper. Thomas reviewed emails between LPD's lawyer, Roger Mallory, and The Ledger, which on Dec. 6 requested "all Lakeland police reports, complaint affidavits, charging documents and any other official records" relating to Bernardo Copeland Jr., charged with the Nov. 24 shooting and robbery of Ralph Harper, and six other teens charged in that case. The Ledger is seeking records involving the teens' criminal histories before the shooting of Harper at the Lakeland Farmers' Market.

Visit TheLedger.com for the rest.