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.
New Mexico court nixes damages against NM 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 San Francisco Chronicle for the rest.
Pa. open records advocates getting mixed results
Officials must release the names of Pennsylvania's 22,000 certified police officers, the state Office of Open Records ruled earlier this week. Siding with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which requested a statewide roster of municipal police officers from the Pennsylvania State Police in February and was turned down, the open government agency said security concerns aren't enough of a reason to keep the list secret.
Visit Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for the rest.
Bill on gun-permit records again falls short in Nebraska Legislature
LINCOLN — For the second time this session, a legislative committee shot down a proposal to ban the public release of the names and addresses of Nebraskans who obtain state permits to buy handguns. … The Legislature's Judiciary Committee took a second vote Thursday on advancing an amended version of the gun-records bill, after an earlier vote ended in a 4-4 deadlock.
Visit Omaha World-Herald for the rest.
Names of LSU presidential finalists must be made public, judge rules
LOUISIANA — A Louisiana newspaper has won its lawsuit against Louisiana State University, with a ruling that makes presidential search candidates’ names public record. Thursday, a state judge said that LSU must disclose the names of finalists that were considered by the search committee because they are public records, The Advocate reported.
Visit Student Press Law Center for the rest.
Florida voters’ email addresses will remain secret, House decides
TALLAHASSEE — Email addresses of voters will be secret under a bill the House passed and sent to the Senate Thursday. The House voted 114-1 to create the public records exemption, despite the opposition of the First Amendment Foundation, an open-government watchdog group backed by many of Florida’s newspapers.
Visit The Miami Herald for the rest.
Washington Supreme Court limits public access to hospital privileging, peer review documents
Public hospital districts may not disclose certain records created during closed-door meetings about hospital privileging decisions, the Washington Supreme Court recently held in Cornu-Labat v. Hospital Dist. No. 2 Grant Cnty., No. 86842-5, — P.3d —-, 2013 WL 1490590 (April 11, 2013) (en banc) . The decision also could lead to broader withholding of documents related to the “peer-review” committees that assess patient care. The case stems from a terminated doctor’s attempts to obtain, under the state Public Records Act (PRA), documents related to his employment at Quincy Valley Medical Center.
Visit Lexology for the rest.
Hills chief to testify for ban on release of 911 calls, Michigan
Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus will tell state Legislators next week how he was bombarded with media requests for tapes of the 911 phone call immediately following the baseball bat beating death of resident Bob Cipriano in 2011. Nebus will testify before the state House Oversight Committee Tuesday, April 30, in favor a bill that would prohibit the immediate public disclosure of 911 emergency calls.
Visit Observer & Eccentric for the rest.
New Hampshire newspaper seeks access to Marriott murder case records
DOVER — Foster’s Daily Democrat has once again asked the trial court in Dover to provide access to public records that were sealed in October following the murder of a University of New Hampshire sophomore. A petition filed in the 7th Circuit Court in Dover Wednesday requests access to the warrants obtained by police as they investigated the disappearance and murder of 19-year-old Elizabeth Marriott.
Visit Foster’s Daily Democrat for the rest.
Pa. Open Records Office keeps facing new challenges
HARRISBURG – When the Office of Open Records was created by Pennsylvania's landmark 2008 Right-to-Know Law, there was no precedent for how an independent agency would handle citizen appeals for government documents. There weren't even a logo or office furniture. Now, five years and more than 6,000 cases after the appointment of its first director, the office confronts new challenges: handling nearly double the caseload from when its doors opened in 2009, and dueling with government agencies that keep finding reasons to turn down citizens' requests.
Visit Philly.com for the rest.
LA public records bill gets support from press association
BATON ROUGE — A Lafourche Parish lawmaker said Tuesday he has the support of the Louisiana Press Association in his efforts to open up more public records in the Governor’s Office. House Bill 19 by Rep. Dee Richard of Thibodaux, who has no party affiliation, would eliminate a commonly used exemption that shields records in the executive branch from public view.
Visit houmatoday.com for the rest.
Opening Data in Raleigh, NC
Raleigh’s new open government portal won’t be fully launched until September, but the city’s new open data manager Jason Hare is working to get as much data online and accessible before then. The portal is still in its “soft launch” phase, but Hare said recently this is more than just a new website for sharing the city’s datasets. He hopes open data will be integrated into the way all city departments work. Members of the City Council pushed last year to make city data available online and put a little money behind the idea to hire Hare to collect the data and build a new site. The open data portal launched in March and continues to be updated with big sets of data including building permits, police and fire incidents, trail maps and other digital information collected and created by the city.
Visit Raleigh Public Record for the rest.
New York City builds on its technology base
A massive data center — 32 stories high and 1 million square feet in size — opened last month in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on hand for the launch, called it the latest sign of New York's emergence as a global technology center. That emergence didn't happen by accident. The city has been broadening its tech base since Bloomberg took office in 2002, encouraging Silicon Valley companies to make New York their second home, deploying Wi-Fi in parks and other public places, sponsoring application development competitions and using analytics to bring new efficiency to municipal operations.
Visit Information Week for the rest.