National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for June 29, 2012

A few state FOIA and local and Federal open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

NM court limits executive privilege in IPRA case

SANTA FE, N.M. – The New Mexico Supreme Court has significantly limited the ability of government officials to use executive privilege when denying access to records under the Inspection of Public Records Act. … The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government says the ruling is “a resounding victory” for the public’s right to know.

Visit — Eyewitness News 4 for the rest.

Education Law Center sues New Jersey to obtain documents

CAMDEN — The Education Law Center is suing the state to obtain documents about two private foundations and their funding of the Department of Education and some of its employees. The suit, citing the state’s Open Public Records Act, comes after the ELC was either being denied access to records or strung along with repeated requests for extensions that remain unfulfilled more than two months after the original request.

Visit Courier-Post for the rest.

FOIA request forces DoJ to reveal National Security Letter templates

As the result of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Department of Justice has revealed, for the first time, the types of secret letters that the government can send out to ISPs and other tech companies being asked to reveal personal data about their users and customers who are being investigated for national security reasons. In 2009, over 6,000 Americans received such National Security Letters (NSLs).

Visit Ars Technica for the rest.

South Carolina Supreme Court rules Freemantle has standing to pursue FOIA case

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Upstate resident Rick Freemantle has legal standing under the state’s Freedom of Information Act to proceed with his lawsuit against Anderson County and its former administrator, Joey Preston. … “ The legislature has specifically conferred standing upon any citizen of South Carolina to bring a FOIA claim against a public body for declaratory or injunctive relief, or both,” the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. “Appellant has pled that he is a citizen of the state and that FOIA has been violated. Nothing more is required.”

Visit Anderson Independent Mail for the rest.

Feds sued for wind power collusion

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Washington D.C. District Court, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has accused the federal government of suppressing information about wind energy projects and their potential negative impact on America’s wildlife. ABC is being represented in the suit by the Washington D.C. public-interest law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

Visit Tulsa Today for the rest.

Florida A&M University struggles with budget, public records and image following student’s hazing death

Budget cuts and a deluge of public records requests are preventing Florida A&M University from putting out “a positive message,” university officials told a skeptical board of trustees Wednesday. … Communications Director Sharon Saunders said the money was needed, in part, because her office has been flooded with public records requests pertaining to Champion’s death and a host of other issues. Her staff has little time for anything else.

Visit Financial News and Daily Record for the rest.