National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for September 21, 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 budget application improves Palo Alto, Calif.’s accessibility

Palo Alto, Calif., launched a new interactive Web tool on Wednesday, Sept. 19, for viewing and analyzing city budget information, which city officials said may be the first of its kind. The open budget platform allows users to see the city’s budget data with multiple viewing options. Data can be broken down into different graph types: line graphs, pie graphs or tables, but through a “filter” feature, users can drill down to more specific budget data.

Visit GovTech for the rest.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich asserts executive privilege in records fight with Democrats

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. John Kasich has asserted the rarely used "executive privilege" in an attempt to deny records to the Ohio Democratic Party detailing his schedule over the summer. The executive privilege exemption has remained unused since it was created in 2006 by an Ohio Supreme Court ruling when then-state Sen. Marc Dann was trying to jimmy loose records related to the "Coingate" scandal from then-Gov. Bob Taft. That changed this week when Kasich's legal team invoked the privilege among a handful of reasons why it says it should not be required to comply with the Democrats' request for the Republican governor's schedule.

Visit for the rest.

Wash. governor's office: Privilege claim seldom used to conceal records

Arguments ended this morning [of Sept. 20] at the Washington state Supreme Court over Gov. Chris Gregoire’s claim she can shield some government documents from public disclosure using a claim of “executive privilege.” My story previewing the case is here, and a link to a document Gregoire’s staff tried to shield but later had to release here (PDF). The case was brought by The Freedom Foundation against Gregoire, and open-government lawyer Michele Earl-Hubbard argued this morning on behalf of the foundation. Before the hearing began, the governor’s spokeswoman Karina Shagren sent information to reporters that included data on document disclosures by the second-term Democrat.

Visit The News Tribune for the rest.

New ruling required in Franklin County (Wash.) public records case

A Franklin County judge will have to take another look at whether personal information and jail employee personnel records can be withheld from a convicted arsonist. The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Court of Appeals incorrectly ruled in June 2011 that inmate Allan Parmelee's identity be considered when determining whether to grant his public records request, and sent the case back to Franklin County for reconsideration.

Visit Bellinghamherald for the rest.

Dispensaries confidentiality is questioned

The state’s withholding of certain details about a proposed marijuana dispensary in Waterbury highlights a constant tension where state agencies can create administrative rules that make public documents confidential, according to an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer. At issue are administrative rules that have allowed the state Public Safety Department to exempt information about dispensaries from public records law. Applications for proposed dispensaries are confidential, according to one rule.

Visit Rutland Herald for the rest.

Open records requests, denials must adhere to law

Not following the state Open Records office’s procedures for requesting and denying access to documents are the main reasons requests are denied and non-public records get released, an office attorney said. Audrey Buglione, an appeals officer for the Open Records office in Harrisburg, Pa., outlined recent developments that are shaping enforcement of the Right-to-Know Law of 2008 in Uniontown City Hall Thursday evening.

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