National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for June 15, 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 expects Sebring case ruling in week

A Polk County (Iowa) district judge is expected to rule next week on Des Moines’ former schools superintendent’s request to block the release of more of her emails, as well as on a new companion bid by Nancy Sebring’s ex-lover to shield anything that might reveal his name. Court papers filed Thursday on behalf of a man identified only as “Interested Party” ask the court to “do anything in its power to prevent the disclosure of my personal identifying information to the public.”

Visit The Des Moines Register for this article, and for much more.

Ruling: Elon (N.C.) Campus Safety and Police Department exempted from public records law

North Carolina Public Records Law is not applicable to state-commissioned police departments of private universities within the state, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month. The June 5 ruling both upholds and extends a decision of the Durham County Superior Court to dismiss a complaint filed April 2011 by former Elon University student Nick Ochsner. The complaint alleged the Elon Campus Safety and Police Department “violated the North Carolina Public Records Law by refusing to provide to (Ochsner) the documents related to (a fellow student’s) arrest,” according to the court ruling.

Visit The Pendulum for the rest.

Blogger files open meeting violations lawsuit filed against Cumming (Ga.) city, mayor

CUMMING, Ga. — On June 12, a blogger and community activist filed her own lawsuit against the city of Cumming after her camera was turned off at a council meeting two months ago. On the heels of Georgia attorney general’s lawsuit against the city and Mayor H. Ford Gravitt for violations of the state’s open meetings act, Nydia Tisdale, who was removed when filming a city council meeting on April 17, has filed her own lawsuit alleging violations to the U.S. Constitution and state law.

Visit for the rest.

Court rules against Jacksonville (Ark.) police in FOIA lawsuit

LITTLE ROCK — Sufficient evidence supports a woman’s allegations that the Jacksonville Police Department did not properly respond to her Freedom of Information Act requests and unreasonably demanded that she pay nearly $2,500 in copying fees, the state Supreme Court ruled. The court issued the ruling in a lawsuit filed by Partne Daugherty, who was stopped for speeding by Jacksonville police on June 24, 2010. … In August 2010, Daugherty submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act.

Visit Arkansas News for the rest.

A brighter future for New Jersey’s Sunshine Law?

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has pledged to push through legislation sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and others to strengthen that law and its sister statute, the Open Public Records Act. The legislators said they expect to move the bills despite “misinformation” from municipal officials opposed to some of the proposed changes.

Visit NJ Spotlight for the rest.

Lorain (Ohio) school board president’s private meeting with school officials claimed a “conversation”

LORAIN — A private meeting called by Lorain school board President Tim Williams and a select group of school officials prior to their Thursday board meeting, was called “conversation.” The meeting excluded three of the five school board members, so as to not violate the state’s open meeting law. “We had a nice conversation,” Williams said following the meeting, and then refused to give details about what was discussed.

Visit The Morning Journal for the rest.

Oregon court makes 20,000-page document on suspected molestations public

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Supreme Court has approved the release of 20,000 pages of so-called perversion files compiled by the Boy Scouts of America on suspected child molesters within the organization for more than 20 years, giving the public its first chance to review the records. The files gathered from 1965 to 1985 came to light when they were used as evidence in a landmark Oregon lawsuit that ended in 2010 with a jury ruling that the Scouts had failed to protect a plaintiff who had been molested by an assistant scoutmaster in the early 1980s.

Visit Huffington Post for the rest.

Public Access Seminar explains open records, meetings to Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers who want to learn about their legal rights to obtain public records or attend government meetings are invited to the Public Access Seminar on Tuesday in Indianapolis. A series of free sessions will be held around the state and will train citizens, government officials and attorneys on Indiana’s laws concerning public records and open meetings. For attorneys, the sessions count as 2.0 hours of free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) but are open to the general public as well.

Visit The Herald Bulletin for the rest.

One rejected public records fee not dead in San Diego

Though the City Council rejected two proposals to add fees for public records earlier this week, the public may still be required to pay one of them. That’s possible because the council vote didn’t affect Mayor Jerry Sanders’ broad authority to charge for copies of public records, said a spokesman for City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

Visit Voice of San Diego for the rest.