NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012 12:00 PM

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:

ACLU sues over attorney general's refusal to release records

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has filed a lawsuit arguing that the state Attorney General's Office is breaking the law by refusing to release records concerning topics ranging from state police overtime to investigative procedures.

The suit, filed this month in the Appellate Division of Superior Court, argues that a regulation that the office adopted at the end of last year violates the state Open Public Records Act.

Visit NorthJersey.com for the rest.

Media seek records of Duke, Progress power deals

RALEIGH, N.C. — Several media companies, including Capitol Broadcasting Co., the parent company of WRAL, have filed a public records request to obtain information about deals that Duke Energy Corp. and Progress Energy Inc. cut with major customers before their merger.

Duke and Progress have argued to the North Carolina Utilities Commission that the information constitutes a trade secret, but the media companies called that stance "self-serving," noting that the deals aren't internal to one company and therefore cannot be a secret.

Visit WRAL.com for the rest.

Judge: Autopsy reports not subject to SC open records laws

SUMTER — A judge has ruled that written autopsy reports are not subject to South Carolina open records laws.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman ruled this week that the reports should be considered medical records, which are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

Visit GoUpState.com for the rest.

Board member's lawsuit about protecting public's right to know, attorney says

The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Greater Lynchburg Transit Company board member Christian DePaul is about protecting the public’s right to know, DePaul’s attorney said Thursday.

“It’s really not necessarily about my client, although my client raised the issues, it’s about asserting the rights the Freedom of Information Act establishes for citizens and making sure those rights are respected at all times,” attorney Brian Moore said.

Visit The News & Advance for the rest.

Toledo Blade sues city over gang territory map

The Blade filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the city of Toledo claiming the city's police department is violating the Ohio Public Records Act for refusing to provide access to a "gang boundaries map" that police use to monitor increasing gang activities and a record number of shootings this year.

According to the complaint filed in the 6th District Court of Appeals, the newspaper requested the opportunity to view and copy what police officers refer to as a "gang boundaries map" or a "gang territories map," which is maintained by the city's police department in the Safety Building downtown and in police computers.

Visit Toledo Blade for the rest.

Jacksonville (Fla.) city employees told text messages are public records

Text messages sent to Jacksonville employees using city Blackberries will now be saved at the direction of the city's ethics commission in order to comply with Florida Sunshine law.

Text messages have fallen into a sort of grey area when it comes to preserving them: Although e-mails must be saved and provided for review, texts were treated more like phone calls, which aren't saved ... The state's thinking, though, has changed, according to current and former members of the Attorney General’s Office who serve on the ethics commission

Visit Jacksonville.com for the rest.

Rhode Island AG's office warns town about public records violation

SCITUATE - The Rhode Island Attorney's General Office has determined that the town of Scituate's Police Pension Board violated the state's Access to Public Records Act when it failed to respond within 10 days to a request for police pension records filed by Carol Costa on behalf of the Scituate Democratic Town Committee.

According to documents from the AG's office, on Feb. 8, 2012, Costa had requested four items: agendas of the board from 1996 to present, minutes of the meetings, correspondence from or to the Scituate Town Council including annual reports of the pension plan, and membership of the pension board since 1996.

Visit The Valley Breeze for the rest.

Court: U. of Iowa can shield '07 assault records

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says the University of Iowa can conceal hundreds of pages of records related to its investigation into an alleged 2007 sexual assault involving football players.

The court ruled 4-3 that the university can withhold records requested by the Iowa City Press-Citizen newspaper.

Visit NOLA.com for the rest.