NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013 3:26 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 State FOIA Friday Archives.

 

Blackfoot woman receives Idaho open government award

BLACKFOOT — Retired Blackfoot High School teacher and active substitute teacher Joyce Bingham never expected to receive an award for becoming a champion of open government. ... Bingham will receive the award and accompanying $1,000 prize at an awards luncheon scheduled for Saturday in Boise.

Visit Idaho State Journal for the rest.

Illinois lawsuit filed in police document case

A Springfield man is suing the city, claiming the police department improperly destroyed documents in an internal affairs file that he had requested under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. Calvin Christian III, a reporter for the Pure News USA Newspaper, is requesting that the city check to see if any employees have copies of the destroyed files, and that an expert examine the city’s computer system to determine if the files are retrievable in electronic form. If there are no copies, he’s asking that witnesses be re-interviewed.

Visit The State Journal-Register for the rest.

The Tornoe Spin: Open government in Delaware

With Delaware lawmakers considering big legislation like Marriage Equality, gun control and the death penalty, an equally-import group of bills is getting almost no attention from the majority, and very little play by media outlets. Back in March, Republicans introduced five bills that attempt to make Legislative Hall and state government more open and transparent. The bills not only include calls for tighter requirements on reporting gifts and tax disclosures, they ban legislators from seeking state employment after being elected (the so-called "double-dippers") and bar former legislators from acting as lobbyists for two years after they leave office.

Visit NewsWorks.org for the rest.

FOIA documents cause controversy for Troy city councilman, Michigan

Just days before the Troy special mayoral election, some residents are trying to piece together FOIA documents to figure out what was happening behind the scenes in the state and city’s dispute late last year on holding a special election. Troy City Councilman Doug Tietz is receiving criticism from residents who say he was working against his city to benefit his own political agenda and has violated council rules because he has a conflict of interest.

Visit The Oakland Press for the rest.

Provost’s office denies access to open records

The provost’s office could be in violation of Oklahoma’s Open Records Act by forcing faculty to sue for personnel records related to tenure appointments. Most employment records are not open to the public, but the Open Records Act expressly states personnel records should be given to the employee. The act reads: “Except as may otherwise be made confidential by statute, an employee of a public body shall have a right of access to his own personnel file.”

Visit The Oklahoma Daily for the rest.

A new plateau for public info

Finger Lakes, N.Y. — Mountains of data on everything from nursing homes to radon gas, from restaurant inspections to state aid for schools is accessible via a few clicks on one website: Open.ny.gov. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the addition of millions more records added to the mix that can be searched by keyword; cross-referenced with other public datasets; downloaded for analysis; and graphed, mapped or charted using tools on the website.

Visit MPNnow.com for the rest.

Louisiana judge rules against Reveille in public records suit

A state district judge refused Tuesday to order LSU’s Board of Supervisors to make public the names of 35 candidates for the recently filled position of president and chancellor, rejecting a petition by the editor of LSU’s student newspaper. Judge Timothy Kelley agreed with the attorney for the university that the 35 candidates were not formal applicants for the position and therefore were not subject to disclosure under the state’s public records laws.

Visit The Advocate for the rest.

SF mayor signs landmark open data policy and procedures legislation

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee last week signed into law the Citywide Coordination of Open Data Policy and Procedures legislation introduced jointly with Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. This new landmark Open Data law establishes the position and duties of a new chief data officer to be appointed by the mayor, and orders that departmental data coordinators assist in the implementation of the Open Data Policy. The ordinance also establishes rules and procedures for making open data available through the city’s open data Web portal.

Visit Government Technology for the rest.

Florida lawmakers considering public records exemptions

TALLAHASSEE - Florida lawmakers are considering a wide range of public-records exemptions – some technicalities, others clouding the state's “Government in the Sunshine” traditions – as they head into the final week of their 2013 legislative session. ... Proponents of the measures, on the other hand, argue in some cases that exempting certain information from public disclosure will protect people from harm and make the state more attractive to job-creating businesses.

Visit The Tampa Tribune for the rest.

Proposed bill would cap Michigan FOIA fees

LANSING — A state Republican lawmaker who represents part of Eaton County is again trying to limit the amount of money governments can charge to honor Michigan residents’ requests for public information. But his plan faces initial resistance from lobbyists representing Michigan communities.

Visit Lansing State Journal for the rest.

Capital outlay documents raise questions of NM open records act

State legislators are apparently not legally required to reveal details of how they spend taxpayers’ money. While investigating a story about “A Park Above” — a planned park for Rio Rancho that would provide equipment that would allow disabled children and adults to play alongside their non-disabled peers — the Observer discovered a legal exemption to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act for legislators.

Visit Rio Rancho Observer for the rest.

Gun-control law to make ownership records private

A little-noticed provision tucked at the end of the sweeping gun legislation approved by the General Assembly last month would shield from view key state gun records that now are public — a change that was pushed by gun-rights advocates during the intense legislative debate and passed unknown to the most ardent gun-control supporters. Current laws allow the Maryland State Police to release the names of people who apply to buy guns, who hold collector's licenses and concealed-carry permits, as well as details about weapon sales. Under the new gun bill, which Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign, that information would no longer be available to the public.

Visit The Baltimore Sun for the rest.

Court nixes damages against N.M. attorney general

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The state Court of Appeals has overturned damages against Attorney General Gary King for withholding public records requested by a lawyer handling a pay discrimination case against King. The court said Thursday a district court judge in Albuquerque failed to provide evidence to support $100-a-day damages against the attorney general.

Visit ConnectAmarillo.com for the rest.