NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for February 8, 2013

Access Freedom of InformationA 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 York's real-time snow plow map to get its first major test this weekend

PlowNYC, the interactive map that allows New York City residents to watch their army of plow-nosed garbage trucks deploy through the city in real time, will have its first test this weekend. Unveiled during last year's mild winter, it has yet to receive the same publicity as a similar program in Chicago. But with a foot of snow in New York City all but assured by Saturday morning, PlowNYC is about to hit the big time.

Visit The Atlantic Cities for the rest.

Closing Airport City meeting violates Colorado Sunshine Laws, experts say

Keeping the public out of a meeting next week that could change the direction of development at Denver International Airport — the state's largest economic driver — would break Colorado open-meetings law, experts said Thursday. Adams County would prefer that the meeting among three elected officials, the mayor of Denver and two of his appointed representatives be conducted behind closed doors.

Visit The Denver Post for the rest.

Henry Sibley principal's $64,590 payout draws questions from open government advocates, MN

The West St. Paul school district paid Henry Sibley High School principal Robin Percival $64,590 to resign—but the district's not saying why Percival resigned or why she received a payout. The secretive termination agreement has rehashed old debates among lawmakers, lawyers and freedom of information advocates.

Visit The Patch for the rest.

Scientist, activist Ian Trowbridge dead

He was the product of early post-war England who developed a keen interest in how things work, first on the cellular level and then in local government. … Trowbridge, the retired Salk Institute researcher who turned his attention to local politics and became a thorn in the side of many an elected official, died Wednesday of an undisclosed illness. He was 65. … He filed perhaps hundreds of California Public Records Act requests over the years and filed lawsuits when he believed public meetings were improperly held in secret.

Visit U-T San Diego for the rest.

Nevada Assembly reviews government transparency

The Nevada attorney general’s office made its case Thursday for a pair of bills before the state Legislature aimed at increasing government transparency. The proposals target laws addressing public records and open meetings, said Keith Munro, the chief of staff for the prosecutor’s office.

Visit for the rest.

Judge (Colorado): Public records still public in Jensen case

District Judge Valerie Robison on Thursday rejected a defense bid to seal the public court file in the case of accused mother Heather Jensen, ensuring continued access to public records in the case. Robison said in a written order that a motion filed by attorney Ed Nugent seeking closure of the public file was “lacking in authority” under state law, while Colorado’s rules of criminal procedure have “no provision” for sealing public court files.

Visit The Daily Sentinel for the rest.

Gov. Haslam denies state lost DCS records case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam denied Thursday that the state was the loser when a judge ruled that the Tennessee Department of Children's Services must make public its records of abuse and neglect investigations of children who died or nearly died. The Republican governor insisted the state is simply "doing what the chancellor asked us to do" in a ruling last month that the documents are public records.

Visit for the rest.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs joins legislative leadership to announce government transparency, pension legislation

(AUSTIN) – Texas Comptroller Susan Combs joined legislative leadership today (February 7, 2013) to announce the filing of legislation aimed at improving government transparency and empowering taxpayers to make informed decisions about taxes and public debt. Senate Bill 14 and House Bill 14, authored by State Senator Tommy Williams and State Representative Jim Pitts and focused primarily on government transparency, would provide taxpayers with vital information about government spending and debt.

Visit The Office of Comptroller for the rest.

Open records advocates say city should put more records online, Colorado

Instead of charging citizens for open records requests, Colorado Springs should be working to put more public information online. That is the advice open government advocates offered Thursday as the city began charging $20 per hour to fill public records requests.

Visit The Gazette for the rest.

Group grades online transparency for states, local governments

Many state and local government websites recently made strides in boosting transparency, a new report published last week finds. Open government watchdog Sunshine Review issued grades for 1,014 government websites, assessing a range of criteria measuring the availability of information.

Visit for the rest.