National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for March 29, 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 and check out those pieces we linked to as part of our Sunshine Week News coverage.

Freelance reporter files three FOIA suits

CHARLESTON – A freelance reporter who contributes to the West Virginia Record filed three Freedom of Information lawsuits last week in Kanawha and Jackson counties. The defendants in the lawsuits are the West Virginia State Police and Col. Jay Smithers; Blaine Hess and the Jackson County Board of Education; and Teresa Tarr and the West Virginia Judicial Investigation Commission.

Visit The West Virginia Record for the rest.

The Public’s Beeswax

A jury this month declared guilty of corruption five former councilmembers of the city of Bell in Los Angeles County. For running a town that is a little larger than Eureka, with a similar percentage of people living in poverty, they had each received salaries more than 10 times what Eureka pays its city leaders. … That story first broke when two reporters from the Los Angeles Times, Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives, requested salary figures for city leaders under the California Public Records Act.

Visit North Coast Journal for the rest.

FOIA complaint: Attorney General's Office finds Woodbridge in violation

BRIDGEVILLE – Delaware’s Attorney General’s Office has ruled in favor of Greenwood resident Daniel Kramer’s Freedom of Information Act complaint against the Woodbridge School District board of education, saying the school board was in FOIA violation in dealing with the resignation of then superintendent Dr. Phyllis Kohel and the hiring of then assistant superintendent Heath Chasanov as the district’s new superintendent in July 2012.

Visit for the rest.

Breaking the law to publish the law: Open government advocate digitizes entirety of D.C. code

Sitting in front of me is a copy of one volume of the D.C. Code, the compendium of laws that govern everything from criminal acts to when and how you can rent your home to a stranger. This particularly volume, which covers Titles 43-46, has seen better days: the elegantly bound book has had its pages torn from its binding, as if someone was purposely trying to take the book apart. That's actually exactly what happened.

Visit DCist for the rest.

North Dakota open government wins, loses

Open government scored a victory and a defeat Wednesday in the North Dakota Legislature. The state Senate approved an amendment to House Bill 1215, involving the charged issue of a school district allowing concealed carry in its buildings. Lawmakers voted to remove the controversial amendment, which would have allowed districts to decide the fate of concealed carry in executive session, away from the ears of the public.

Visit Williston Herald for the rest.

Holding accountable all levels of government

A couple of weeks ago a couple of harbingers of Spring came and went, and each acknowledges how we depend on sunshine. One was Daylight Savings Time, letting us think about spring and more sunlight, and the other was “Sunshine Week,” a time to promote and praise transparency in government: open government.

Visit Tri States Public Radio for the rest.

Governor proposes $10 charge to access court files

Sacramento — Gov. Jerry Brown wants to let state courts charge the public $10 just to access files at county courthouses, one of a handful of provisions in his proposed budget that puts a price tag on the public’s right to know. Terry Francke, co-founder and general counsel of the open-government group Californians Aware, likened the court-fee proposal to installing coin-operated turnstiles at courthouse doors.

Visit U-T San Diego for the rest.