NFOIC’s FOI Friday for January 13, 2012

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A few open government and FOIA news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to previously:

Hospital errors could become public under proposed new Missouri rules

A spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association said the proposed change could eventually make those adverse events involving Medicaid patients more transparent. The agency that oversees Missouri's Medicaid program, the Department of Social Services, is subject to public records requests. Information about the adverse events is in billing data that the hospital submits.

Visit for the rest.

Numerous explosive finds in Wu-Tang clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s FBI files

The FBI recently released their file on the late rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard—of Wu-Tang Clan fame—thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, and it’s a doozy. The FBI alleges the Wu-Tang Clan was connected to various murders, drug deals, the Bloods gang, and other nefarious dealings.

Visit The Daily Beast for the rest.

New bill would put taxpayer-funded science behind pay walls

Right now, if you want to read the published results of the biomedical research that your own tax dollars paid for, all you have to do is visit the digital archive of the National Institutes of Health. There you’ll find thousands of articles on the latest discoveries in medicine and disease, all free of charge. A new bill in Congress wants to make you pay for that, thank you very much.

Visit ProPublica for the rest.

Maine governor seeks to exempt working papers from Freedom of Access Act

If you search "freedom of information" on the Maine state government's Web site, it will lead you to a page about the Freedom of Access Act, or FOAA. There, it says that the public's right to information about government activities lies at the heart of a democratic government. When Gov. Paul LePage was a candidate, he pledged to have an open and transparent government. But now he wants to exempt his working papers from FOAA.

Visit Maine Public Broadcasting Network for the rest.

Massachusetts to school committee: Announce release of meeting minutes

The state Attorney General's Office reminded the Melrose School Committee last summer that when executive session minutes are released, the committee must announce their availability, according to a letter released this week by the state. The letter closes an Open Meeting Law complaint filed with the Attorney General Office's Division of Open Government by resident Maryan Hollis, a regular attendee of School Committee meetings.

Visit Melrose, MA Patch for the rest.

Florida bill would require public comment at meetings

TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s citizens would get the right to be heard on public issues, not just be seen, at meetings of local government and state executive branch bodies under a bill that cleared a Senate subcommittee Wednesday. The measure (SB 206) was filed in response to a pair of appellate court rulings that noted Florida’s open government “Sunshine Law” requires officials to meet in public but does not give citizens a right to speak at those meetings.

Visit Bradenton Herald for the rest.