NFOIC's State FOIA Friday for September 6, 2013

September 6, 2013 2:50 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.

Sunshine Law proponents sue city of Groveland

image of Access keyA Sarasota-based organization that seeks compliance with Florida’s open-government laws is suing Groveland to block its transfer of police dispatching services to Lake County. ... In that suit, Citizens for Sunshine Inc. contends a meeting Mayor James Gearhart and Vice Mayor Tim Loucks reportedly had on June 20 with a police sergeant in a grocery store parking lot, where police dispatching was allegedly discussed at length, “tainted” a council vote on Aug. 19 to hand over those services to the sheriff’s office.

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Aide to San Diego mayor suggested deleting certain public records

SAN DIEGO -- Handwritten notes obtained by San Diego 6 show that one of former Mayor Bob Filner's top aides suggested deleting text messages, even though she acknowledged they were "technically public records." The notes, taken by then-Deputy Chief of Staff Lee Burdick, were obtained as part of a California Public Records Act Request by San Diego 6.

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Wyoming governor's office releases about 17,000 pages of e-mails to superintendent Cindy Hill

Governor Matt Mead says his office has been working hard to comply with Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill’s public records request for certain e-mails between members of his staff and the Wyoming Department of Education. Mead says it takes a lot of time to go through the e-mails and make sure they are not releasing information they are not legally allowed to. Mead says to date his office has released about 17,000 pages of e-mails,

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Conn. FOI lawyer: Release Newtown 911 calls

HARTFORD — An attorney with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission has recommended the release of 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, siding with The Associated Press in a dispute over records withheld by investigators. The full, nine-member commission is to hold a September 25 hearing before issuing its final decision on whether the recordings should be handed over to the AP.

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Washington high court rules to release psychological report in Seattle slayings

The state Supreme Court has ruled against sealing a psychological evaluation that found Dr. Louis Chen competent to stand trial on two counts of aggravated first-degree murder in the August 2011 deaths of his partner and their young son in Seattle. ... The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the Washington Defender Association, Disability Rights of Washington and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers submitted briefs in support of Chen’s argument. Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and the Washington Coalition for Open Government filed a joint brief in support of the state’s position.

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Ohio Supreme Court allows lawsuit over traffic stop dashcam video

The Ohio State Highway Patrol does not want to give up dashcam footage of a traffic stop from two years ago. Motorist Mark Miller insists the video record of a July 15, 2011 drunk driving stop exists, but state officials refuse to disclose it, citing an exemption for withholding public records related to open criminal investigations. Miller challenged the refusal all the way to the state Supreme Court which ruled Tuesday in Miller's favor by ordering the State Patrol to prove the exemption actually applies. As a member of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, Miller sought to document abuse of power related to traffic incidents involving state Trooper Joseph Westhoven.

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Opinion: Florida records public, but not free

Lourdes Ramirez spent almost two days looking through public records to get a better understanding of Sarasota County's 2050 plan. She did get a few insights. And so did we, although our eye-openers had nothing to do with the county's blueprint for growth east of Interstate 75.

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Ohio patrol must prove records are exempt, justices rule

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the State Highway Patrol must prove that materials withheld from a public-records request are exempt from disclosure under the Ohio Public Records Act. Now, a southwestern Ohio man’s request for records from the patrol will be heard again by the 12th District Court of Appeals after the 7-0 ruling, released yesterday.

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WATCHDOG: South Dakota makes more info available online

You can now go to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources site to look up production and ownership data on oil and gas wells. You can also get DENR public notices. And you can go to the state Department of Labor and Regulation site for market-conduct examinations by insurance companies. It's a trend that's good for everyone: citizens don't have to make time-consuming FOIA requests and state workers don't have to spend time processing said requests and looking for information.

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NM governor accused of open records violations

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Santa Fe Reporter has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Susana Martinez, alleging violations of the state's open records laws as well as retaliation by her office against the alternative weekly. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in state district court. It alleges seven instances where the governor's office failed to produce calendars, emails, documents about pardons and other material sought by the Reporter under the state's Inspection of Public Records Act.

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