NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for February 22, 2013

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.

Bill adds teeth to state laws on open meetings, records

Officials who refuse to release public records or shut North Carolina residents out of open meetings could face criminal penalties under a bill filed Thursday. Senate Bill 125 would make violations of the state public records and open meetings laws a Class 3 misdemeanor. State Sen. Buck Newton, a Wilson Republican, is co-sponsor of the bill introduced by Sens. Thom Goolsby and Tom Apodaca.

Visit The Wilson Times for the rest.

ACLU calls for Rhode Island attorney general to strictly enforce public records laws

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island called Thursday for the state attorney general to more strictly enforce public records laws, saying a review found the office has rarely taken legal action against violators. In a 22-page report, the ACLU said the attorney general's office filed six lawsuits against public bodies between 1999 and June 2012 after finding violations to the Access to Public Records Act, or what amounts to less than 4 percent of the time.

Visit The Republic for the rest.

Effort to toughen open government laws finds new life in NC legislature

State lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to toughen the state’s open government laws by making it a crime to deny access to public records and meetings. Republican state Sen. Thom Goolsby said the tougher penalties are necessary to ensure compliance with the existing law. Read more here:

Visit Charlotte Observer for the rest.

Assemblyman wants interim study of Nevada's public-records law

Assemblyman Skip Daly says he wants an interim study of Nevada's public-records law. Daly, a Sparks Democrat, said there is too much confusion and too many issues to resolve during the regular session. The public and agency staffers are confused about how, exactly, to apply records laws when someone asks for something, he said.

Visit Nevada Appeal for the rest.

Manhattan Beach (Calif.) mayor has aim on open government, infrastructure

David Lesser, who took the reins as Manhattan Beach mayor Tuesday night, said he will focus on public safety, infrastructure improvements and public engagement during his nine-month term. Lesser, who was elected to the Manhattan Beach City Council in 2011, said the city also needs to be proactive in crime prevention and preparing for a natural disaster.

Visit The Beach Reporter for the rest.