NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for June 21, 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.


Advocates, journalists honored for supporting open government

Three advocates of open government and three investigative journalists were honored Wednesday as the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information held its annual meeting in Hartford. The council gave its Champion of Open Government award to two former members of the state Freedom of Information Commission, Sherman London and Norma Riess, whose terms recently expired and who were not reappointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. London, former editorial page editor of the Waterbury Republican-American, served on the commission for 17 years, the longest-serving member in the commission's history.

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N.J. Legislature OKs bill allowing Bergen, five other counties to avoid publishing full text of ordinances in newspapers

Under a bill that is now heading to Governor Christie’s desk, Bergen County and five others could avoid publishing the full text of proposed ordinances in local newspapers. The bill received final legislative approval on Thursday, when the state Senate unanimously approved a version that passed the Assembly last month.

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FOI unearths St. Vincent draft proposal for UAMS combine

Joann Coleman, a civic activist who's been closely following the proposed UAMS-St. Vincent medical services merger, has unearthed yet another interesting document from her series of FOI inquiries. She detected from remarks by Chancellor Dan Rahn at UAMS that there were further documents indicating St. Vincent bargaining positions. She requested them. The UAMS lawyer said they didn't exist. She persisted. Wednesday, she got a response from University of Arkansas counsel Fred Harrison, Oops. Harrison said the UAMS lawyer didn't know about a proposed agreement drafted by St. Vincent's corporate attorney and sent to UAMS' private counsel (not, as the original post said, to Chancellor Rahn himself, according to a spokesman for UAMS).

Visit Arkansas Times for the rest.

City to TU: drop Sunshine suit or risk paying court costs

Lawyers defending Jacksonville against a Times-Union lawsuit that says secret pension negotiations involving Mayor Alvin Brown’s office broke state law are threatening to seek a court order for the newspaper to pay the city’s costs for the court fight. … The Times-Union has filed challenges in state and federal court to a settlement agreement Brown’s office negotiated with police and fire unions and the city Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Visit The Florida Times-Union for the rest.

Gainesville supervisor’s FOIA request sparks another round of ‘logo-gate’

The debate some community bloggers dubbed “logo-gate” in recent weeks flared anew Tuesday when Supervisor Frank Principi, D-Woodbridge, criticized fellow Supervisor Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, for continuing to push the issue with a three-page list of questions Candland fired off to county staff last week. Candland said it was an attempt to “clear up inconsistencies” in staff members’ public statements about the logo selection process.

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Marshall University, president sued for not honoring FOIA requests

HUNTINGTON – Marshall University and President Stephen J. Kopp are being sued for failing to honor multiple Freedom of Information Act requests. The petitioners include American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia; AFL-CIO; Christine Campbell, the president; and Drs. Dallas Brozik and James Sottile, members.

Visit The West Virginia Record for the rest.

California legislature to reconsider public records bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Facing intense public criticism, the Legislature's Democratic leaders on Wednesday prepared to back away from the provisions of a budget bill that threatened public access to information held by local governments. Assembly Speaker John Perez said his house will pass another bill that maintains a requirement for cities and counties to comply with the California Public Records Act. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, called a news conference for late Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.

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Open government Texans deserve

Memo to Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson: There will be no more hiding public information behind the cloak of personal email. With the signing of SB 1368, Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature have brought much-needed clarity to the state's Public Information Act. The new law specifies electronic messages dealing with official government business are public record, even those sent from private accounts.

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