NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for March 22, 2013

March 22, 2013 12:51 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. While you're at it, be sure to check out the State FOIA Friday Archives.

Proposal would charge $10 to search court records in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a move that is raising concern about limiting access to public documents, California courts could charge $10 for each record search under a proposal included in Gov. Jerry Brown's budget. The governor included the search fee as one of the ways the courts can raise $30 million a year to offset budget cuts. ... Media organizations and good-government advocates worry that such a fee would restrict access to files the public has a right to view. Democratic lawmakers also expressed distaste for restricting information to those who can afford it.

Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the rest.

University of California Board of Regents files appeal to overturn public records ruling

The UC Board of Regents filed an appeal with the First Appellate District in San Francisco to overturn an earlier ruling mandating the university to disclose information on its investment returns, according to a statement released Thursday. In the earlier ruling made in February, the Alameda County Superior Court mandated the UC to comply with public records requests for its investments, some of which were made with public money. Reuters America filed the suit against the UC system last year in response to the university’s failure to comply with a public records request.

Visit The Daily Califoirnian for the rest.

EDITORIAL: Latest FOIA roadblock just another dose of legislative hypocrisy

We have told you before about the need for more transparency – a lot more – in state government, and a bill that would help in that regard is once again winding its way through the Legislature. Here’s the latest, and it’s not good news: The bill in question took a detour in the House this week. By an overwhelming majority, representatives voted to send it back to committee. That’s seldom a good thing, although Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, the bill’s chief sponsor, vows it’s not the end. We'll see.

Visit SCNow.com for the rest.

Baton Rouge Police Union files lawsuit against State Police for public records

The Baton Rouge Police Union is suing Louisiana State Police for access to public records related to former Baton Rouge Chief Dewayne White. The office of Mayor-President Kip Holden fired White on Feb. 6. State Police rejected a Feb. 18 public records request for documents concerning disciplinary action involving White’s time as a state trooper.

Visit NOLA.com for the rest.

Bronx public records blocked by court

Every year, Bronx judges appoint hundreds of attorneys to handle vital matters for incapacitated people or distressed property. These individuals, known as “fiduciary appointees,” are well-paid for their time, earning a total of $2.6 million in the Bronx last year. Despite reforms put in place in 2003 to stem the tide of political patronage, many top appointees are also well-connected, with strong ties to the Bronx Democratic Party and the political organizations that help judges win election, a recent investigation by the The Riverdale Press found.

Visit The Riverdale Press for the rest.

Judge again sides with Gannett New Jersey in public-records fight with Raritan Borough

A judge once again has sided with Gannett New Jersey in its public-records lawsuit against Raritan Borough. Seven months after Superior Court Judge Yolanda Ciccone issued a precedent-setting decision ordering the Somerset County borough to release its employee payroll records in a digital format, Ciccone this week denied the borough’s latest efforts to charge for the information. Ciccone’s decision is the latest ruling supporting both the newspaper company’s effort to deliver news as well as the public’s right to know under the state’s Open Public Records Act.

Visit MyCentralJersey.com for the rest.