NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for August 24, 2012

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:

Judge to hear arguments in public records dispute

DOVER — A Superior Court judge has scheduled oral arguments in a case that will determine if a Kent County sewer and water utility is subject to Delaware’s public records law or if the entity can continue to keep its detailed financial and operational documents private.

Visit Delaware Online for the rest.

Phone bill ruling confirms public's right to know

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning Jr. regarding a former UNC-Chapel Hill football coach's cell phone bills applies to all public officials and employees. In response to a public records challenge, Manning ruled that the telephone bills of former UNC coach Butch Davis are in the public domain and as such must be disclosed.

Visit Hickory Daily Record for the rest.

Public records advocate sues school board over release of emails

BARTOW | A Lakeland open government activist is suing the Polk County School Board for what he contends is the board's unlawful refusal to provide public records. Joel Chandler filed a Circuit Court lawsuit Wednesday against the School Board and Superintendent Sherrie Nickell. Chandler is trying to get access to hundreds of potential emails exchanged between School Board members Frank O'Reilly and Kay Fields during four months of 2011.

Visit The Ledger for the rest.

'We the People' goes open-source

The Obama administration's "We the People" online petitions platform has been open-sourced, allowing other individuals or groups to tailor the system for their own use. The "We the People" code was released under the GNU General Public License yesterday, and is now available on GitHub

Visit CNET for the rest.

Daugaard and South Dakota AG urge open government

PIERRE | Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday that South Dakota government should be as open as possible so people can find out what the state and local governments are doing. Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley appointed the 33-member task force, which intends to recommend changes in laws dealing with open meetings and the availability of documents held by state agencies and local governments. The panel includes representatives of news organizations, law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and officials from cities, counties and school districts.

Visit Rapid City Journal for the rest.

Durand officials, businessman clash over FOIA fees

DURAND — A new dispute between local business owner Carl Hatley and Durand officials concerns the city’s cost estimate of more than $11,000 to produce public records requested by Hatley through the Freedom of Information Act. Officials say the fee is justified by the broad scope of the request, while Hatley, the owner of Railway Pizza on Saginaw Street, says language on the city’s website — an “error” that was removed after he made the request — indicates he shouldn’t be charged anything.

Visit The Argus-Press for the rest.

California Legislature: Open data initiative to see final vote next week

The California Public Records Act requires state and local government agencies make documents not exempt from disclosure available to the public upon request so that residents can monitor how their government is functioning. Currently agencies are required to produce any electronic document considered a public record in whichever electronic format the document is maintained. A bill authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) would create an open data standard for electronic documents making government more transparent and accountable.

Visit California Forward for the rest.

Open government: It is the principle of naming school principal that matters

Governing groups can go into executive session — which means behind a closed door, shut off from the public — for specific matters, such as negotiations. But they must vote openly, as required under the Freedom of Information Act, which has guided public disclosure for more than 35 years in Connecticut. The Danbury Board of Education did vote in public, but did not disclose who they were voting for as the new principal of Stadley Rough Elementary School.

Visit The News-Times for the rest.