NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for June 8, 2012

June 8, 2012 3:25 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:

Des Moines school district says Sebring emails are public files

A Polk County district judge next week will listen to arguments regarding the release of additional personal emails sent and received on the Des Moines school district’s public account by former superintendent Nancy Sebring.

The district on Thursday filed a response to Sebring’s request for an injunction that, if approved, would stop the release of other of her personal emails sent and received on the district account.

Visit Des Moines Register for the rest.

Va. Supreme Court rules Fairfax School Board e-mails did not break state law

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled Thursday that members of the Fairfax County School Board did not break state law when they exchanged hundreds of e-mails prior to a controversial 2010 vote to close Clifton Elementary School.

The opinion, written by Senior Justice Lawrence L. Koontz, upheld a lower court’s ruling and affirmed a long-standing interpretation of how elected officials may and may not use e-mail to discuss public business.

Visit The Washington Post for the rest.

Ninefold Supports Government & Developer Competition

Ninefold, Australia's Cloud, has congratulated all winners and participants of the largest GovHack 2012 competition yet in Australia, particularly the 10 of 22 winners using Ninefold virtual machines.

Ninefold provided virtual machines and on-site mentoring both in Sydney and Canberra plus sponsorship funding towards the cash prizes. Contestants were supported by GovHack organisers with a range of tools and hosting options, including virtual machines from Ninefold, which will keep the VMs active for six months to allow participants to keep working on their projects.

Visit San Francisco Chronicle for the rest.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs into law rules for public review of voted ballots

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation Thursday that sets rules for public review of voted ballots — a bill he called “imperfect but necessary” to prevent chaos in November. But critics say it is a blow to open government.

[...]

Opponents argue that the bill creates an exception which defines a privileged class of people who may inspect public documents at a time when others in the public or media may not. 

Visit The Denver Post for the rest.

Public records debate continues after court rejects lawsuit

A former Elon University student, now a television reporter in Texas, is considering options after a failed appeal of a lawsuit against the school and N.C. Attorney Gen. Roy Cooper.

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled this week campus police departments at private schools such as Elon do not have to make records available to the public. The ruling supported a trial court’s previous decision that campus police are exempt from public records law. The decision was unanimous.

Visit Burlington Times News for the rest.

South Carolina Bill that would have strengthened open-records law nixed in the Senate

COLUMBIA — A bill that would have strengthened the state’s Freedom of Information law died in the state Senate after a Democrat placed a legislative block on the measure.

Among many changes, the bill would have reduced costs public bodies can charge in response to open-records requests, forced bodies to make certain records available for immediate inspection and put an end to more than month-long waits for public information.

Visit The Post and Courier for the rest.