NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for May 24, 2013

We’re sorry we missed our usual State FOIA Friday last week (May 17) but we were otherwise occupied in New Orleans for the annual FOI Summit.

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.


UW-Madison seeks limits on open records regarding research

Madison — The University of Wisconsin-Madison is seeking to limit the state’s open records law — potentially through language slipped into the state budget — to keep some research information from the public until it is published or patented. No specific incidents of harmful disclosures were cited in language for possible legislation that is being passed among Republican lawmakers and was obtained by the Journal Sentinel.

Visit Journal Sentinel for the rest.

Closing the door on open gov

Mayor Bob Filner’s formal push for government transparency appears all but dead with the departure of the two officials leading the effort. As a candidate, Filner pledged to create an atmosphere of openness at City Hall with regular office hours and greater access to details on government happenings. Central to those plans was the open government department, a mayoral division Filner said would ensure residents get easy access to city documents and details on the workings of city government.

Visit Voice of San Diego for the rest.

Editorial: Lakeland police public records: Cat and mouse

Lakeland residents are right back where they started in January, unable to trust their Police Department to provide records to the public, as required by Florida law. Worse, confidence in the Circuit Court is hard to hold because the chief judge has refused to release even the slimmest portion of a grand jury report on Lakeland Police and public records.

Visit The Ledger for the rest.

Records: Driver in fatal III. van wreck had license suspended for administrative reasons

A New Jersey man behind the wheel of a van that overturned on an Illinois freeway, killing five passengers returning from a California ministry gathering, had his driving privileges suspended last year for administrative reasons, motor vehicle records show. Illinois State Police have refused to publicly identify the driver ticketed for improper lane usage and driving with a suspended license Monday’s wreck on Interstate 70, citing an ongoing investigation a spokeswoman said could take weeks. However, The Associated Press obtained that citation, which was issued to 45-year-old Malcolm Purnell of Paterson, N.J. Public records suggest Purnell now lives in Camden, N.J.

Visit Fox News for the rest.

CA records law changes face opposition

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to save money by lifting certain requirements of the California Public Records Act is getting some pushback from at least one corner of the Legislature. Two years ago, an obscure state commission determined that the state must reimburse local governments if it requires them to assist the public with records requests and respond to them within 10 days.

Visit U-T San Diego for the rest.

The Records Man retires

The Texas Public Information Act requires public officials to respond to document requests quickly – within days and without lame excuses. Unfortunately, reporters get used to having to fight for records since bureaucrats tend to balk. They appeal to the Texas AG for permission to deny requests. They claim to lose them. They demand thousands of dollars in fees — in advance. Or they provide heavily censored or useless info. But that never happened with requests handled by the Harris County auditor’s office.

Visit Huston Chronicle for the rest.

Secretary of state Ross Miller accused of disclosure violation

A national Republican group has sued Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, claiming he failed to turn over records that should be made public detailing his travel, compensation, public schedule and cellphone use. The State Government Leadership Foundation, an affiliate of the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee, accused the Democrat of accepting generous gifts and trying to hide his assets.

Visit Nevada Appeal for the rest.