NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for September 27, 2013

September 27, 2013 12:45 PM

From NFOIC:  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.

YH-R, TV stations earn Washington open government award

image of Access keyThe Washington Coalition for Open Government on Thursday presented the Yakima Herald-Republic and three local television stations with the organization’s Key Award for contributions in promoting open government. The award was given for the newspaper’s and television stations’ joint effort in June to keep open court hearings on new evidence in a widely discussed triple-homicide case that prosecutors had sought to close to the public.

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Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments over Chicago’s red light program, FOIA and legal malpractice matters

The Illinois Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in more than a dozen cases. ... The justices also agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging dismissals of actions brought under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Those cases are Warren Garlick v. Lisa Madigan and Larry Nelson, et al. v The County of Kendall.

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LSU board hit with penalty in public records case

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A Baton Rouge judge has ordered the LSU Board of Supervisors to pay thousands in penalties to two newspapers, after refusing to provide them with presidential search records. Judge Janice Clark applied the maximum $100 per day penalty, along with a requirement that LSU reimburse the newspapers for attorneys' fees and court costs.

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Beaver county (PA) stalls on public records request despite legal ruling

BEAVER, Pennsylvania — Beaver County hasn't provided documents to a local newspaper on the initial five bidders for a nursing home, despite a ruling from the state's Office of Open Records. Assistant County Solicitor Andrea Cantelmi said Wednesday that no decision has been made on either providing the information or appealing the decision, The Beaver County Times reported.

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Iowa free press and open government events scheduled for Oct. 3

Members of the public, the media, local and state government and University of Iowa officials will participate in a day of free press and open government events Oct. 3. At 10 a.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol there will be a meeting of the new Iowa Public Information Board.

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Opinion: Another week, another dustup over public records issues in Ohio

Columbus -- Not too long after I started covering the Statehouse six years ago, I began keeping tabs on Ohio's Tax Credit Authority. Each month, I look over the panel's agenda, searching for companies of local interest. Wherever one from Youngstown or Defiance or Cambridge or Wooster or other communities is up for a tax break, I try to attend. It's always a challenge.

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New York governor has work to do to keep transparency promise

As he prepares to seek re-election next year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo can point to a number of campaign promises kept: Passage of on-time budgets, approval of same-sex marriage and a revised tax code among them. What he cannot point to is his pledge to create “the most transparent and accountable (state government) in history.” On that front, the governor and his administration have much work to do.

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Bayonne must pay attorney fees in dispute over New Jersey OPRA requests

The city of Bayonne has been ordered to pay attorney fees after a state agency ruled that the city unlawfully denied a series of Open Public Records Act requests. "Bayonne has been difficult," said John Paff, 56, chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Parties open government advocacy project, whose OPRA requests had been initially denied. "They seem to almost have a problem with dealing with record requests. I asked for two things and made two separate requests.

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Florida Public Defender under fire: New emails revealed

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Action News is digging through thousands of emails from Jacksonville's embattled Public Defender, Matt Shirk. Shirk became the subject of a special prosecutor's probe after independent investigations by Action News and the Florida Times-Union revealed possible violations of public records laws.

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Editorial: Keeping the spirit of FOIA strong (MI)

Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act will be 40 years old in 2016. That would seem long enough to assure that it is well understood and equally well followed by the public officials who entertain requests to review public records from citizens and the media. Yet, exactly how the FOIA is followed can vary wildly from state department to state department. LSJ state government reporter Kristen Daum exposed the contrasts in special reports this summer.

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