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.
This time around, North Carolina open-government law may win
By national standards, North Carolina has fairly good open records and open meetings laws, but in practice those statutes often fall short. Elected officials and bureaucrats alike often turn away members of the public seeking publicly owned information. … But this year, Goolsby may not be so easy to ignore. He’s re-filed the bill and it’s going to the same committee, Senate Judiciary I, that dismissed it in 2011. The big difference is that in 2013 he is the co-chairman of that committee and can almost guarantee that it will be discussed.
Visit Editorial from the Winston-Salem Journal for the rest.
Sierra Club wins public records ruling against Port of Coos Bay
COOS BAY — The Oregon chapter of The Sierra Club has won the latest round in its effort to get public records from the Port of Coos Bay about plans to export coal. The World newspaper reported Thursday that Circuit Judge Paula Bechtold has ruled the port violated public records law and the Sierra Club's constitutional rights when it demanded $19,000 to produce the records.
Visit The Oregonian for the rest.
Advocates say FOIA reform badly needed, but others say bill needs changes
COLUMBIA — South Carolina residents who say they have faced great difficulty in obtaining public information from government bodies are urging state representatives to approve a measure that would reform the state’s open-records law. The bill by Aiken GOP Rep. Bill Taylor would force bodies such as state agencies and local school boards to respond more quickly to requests for public information, and restrict what those bodies can charge for the information.
Visit The Post and Courier for the rest.
SC Citizens, government agencies share differing visions on public records proposal
COLUMBIA, SC — A bill aimed at curbing excessive fees levied against people requesting public information and ensuring those requests are filled in a timely manner will get another look by a state House panel. Sponsored by Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, the bill seeks to amend the state's Freedom of Information Act — the state law regulating public records requests.
Visit MyrtleBeachOnline.com for the rest.
Keep public records accessible
Citizens should not have to pay a tax to obtain information from public officials. Yet that is exactly what a draft bill in the Wisconsin Assembly would propose by allowing government agencies to charge for time spent deleting confidential information from documents.
Visit Editorial from LaCrosseTribune.com for the rest.
WA lawmaker’s bill another assault on Public Records Act
On the Capitol Campus today, lawmakers are debating a bill that would undermine the transparency of state government by making it more difficult for a citizen to obtain public records. Ever since Washington voters approved an initiative creating the 1972 Public Records Act – by an overwhelming 72 percent yes vote – public agencies and elected officials have been doing their best to make it less effective.
Visit Editorial from the Olympian for the rest.
Naval Postgraduate School has public records request backlog
Attempts to get public information about many taxpayer-funded military institutions can be as difficult as getting past the armed guards at their gates. That includes the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where staff members were essentially gagged after two of the school's top officials were unceremoniously removed from office. Their contracts and other information, widely considered to be public information, have been withheld during what is likely to be a long and laborious process under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Visit MontereyHerald.com for the rest.
Some NC Leaders Fighting To Remove Public Access To Gun Permit Records
HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. — There is a push for a new ban in North Carolina. Some leaders want to keep personal information contained in gun permits out of public view. … North Carolina law requires people to first obtain a permit from their local sheriff’s office before buying a handgun, though it’s not needed for the purchase of shotguns and rifles.
Visit WSPA.com for the rest.
Public records requests may require extra staff in Teaneck, NJ
If requests for public records keep pouring in at the current pace, extra staff may be needed to help the township respond to each of the requests within the state-mandated time period, Teaneck Manager William Broughton told the council last week. … One recent request involved staff members from several departments in town working to respond, Broughton told the council. In response to another recent request, an employee spent about eight hours putting together a group of bills, copying them and compiling information.
Visit NorthJersey.com for the rest.
'Grandma of GRAMA' eases public records access
FARMINGTON, Utah — Yvonne Christensen is Davis County’s “grandma of GRAMA,” and on Tuesday was recognized as such by the Davis County Commission. Christensen, 59, received on Jan. 8 a records officer certification from the State Division of Archives. The certification allows Christensen to officially oversee and respond to the numerous Government Records Access Management Act requests the county receives from the public and media in search of a public document.
Visit the Standard-Examiner for the rest.