NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for May 18, 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:

Open meeting law needs looser definition

MASSACHUSETTS—At the risk of sounding like a geezer, I want to tell you a little about what it was like reporting on local government before there was such a thing as an open meeting law.

Visit South Coast Today for the rest.

Mayor Says He Will Not Open Campaign Records

ALABAMA—Mayor Sam Jones says he does not plan to produce detailed records of his campaign spending despite saying last week that his campaign would "open the books to anybody."

Visit for the rest.

Judge rejects bid to open police records

WEST VIRGINIA— A Kanawha County judge has denied a newspaper's bid to compel the West Virginia State Police to release documents that detail internal investigations into accusations of trooper misconduct.

Visit Charleston Daily Mail for the rest.

Bay Area immigration records, destined for destruction, will be released Tuesday

CALIFORNIA—Tens of thousands of old West Coast immigration records the government once sought to throw away will instead become publicly available on Tuesday at a Bay Area archive.

Visit San Jose Mercury News for the rest.

Former state GOP official files open records request over recent Winthrop Polls

SOUTH CAROLINA—After Republican criticism of Winthrop University’s widely published surveys of public opinion, a former state GOP official has asked the school to turn over all records related to the last three Winthrop Polls, including respondents’ identities.

Visit Herald Online for the rest.

Elbert County to charge for research behind open-records requests

COLORADO—Elbert County has begun charging for researching and compiling information to answer open-records requests. The cost of providing the information was just too high in tough economic times, the county commissioners said as they approved the new policy at a recent meeting.

Visit Denver Post for the rest.

Board response states no open meeting laws were violated

IOWA—Claims the Winneshiek Medical Center Hospital Board violated state open meetings laws have no basis for further action, according to WMC's legal counsel.

Visit Decorah Newspapers for the rest.

Md. Transportation Authority, Carroll Co. ran afoul of open meetings laws

MARYLAND—Members of the Maryland Transportation Authority met without giving proper notice. Carroll County commissioners charged admission to a forum held by opponents of Gov.Martin O'Malley's statewide growth plan.

Visit Baltimore Sun for the rest.

Open meetings should be taken seriously

GEORGIA—On Tuesday, the Memorial Hospital Authority held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting. During that meeting, the Authority called for an executive session, which it is well within its rights to do under certain circumstances. According to the minutes of that meeting, the Authority then ended the executive session and returned to open session.

Visit The Post Searchlight for the rest.

Mayor Wants New Fees for Public Info

CALIFORNIA—Mayor Jerry Sanders wants to charge more money for public records, adding another hurdle for the public to get information about the inner workings of San Diego's city government.

A little-known proposal working its way through City Hall would add fees for copies of public records like PDFs and computer data. Today, these records are often provided for free.

Visit Voice of San Diego for the rest.

Weaver residents deserve to know how deep alarm is over city finances

ALABAMA—The easiest way for the city of Weaver to answer questions concerning its finances is to expose its books to sunlight. Subterfuge only adds to any unnecessary drama.

Visit The Anniston Star for the rest.