California cities want transparency rules waived in pandemic

Citing unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, city officials across California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend or delay numerous state laws, saying they’re unable to comply with everything from environmental regulations to public records laws that give people a window into how the government is spending public money. Noting that city resources…


When a reporter would not betray his source, police came to his home with guns and a sledgehammer

The banging jolted Bryan Carmody awake. Outside his San Francisco home Friday morning, the longtime journalist saw a throng of police officers with a sledgehammer, trying to break down his front gate. Carmody told the eight to 10 officers he would only let them in with a search warrant. Police confirmed a judge signed off…


Four state open government champions to be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame

For Immediate Release –   March 27, 2019         Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director National Freedom of Information Coalition 352-294-7082 Four state open government champions to be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame   Four “Heroes of the 50 States” — representing California, Georgia, South Dakota and…


Open government group sues CalPERS over data on pension types

An open government group is suing the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, saying it has failed to disclose records that should be public about benefit recipients. The Nevada Policy Research Institute, which operates the website Transparent California, filed suit Friday in California Superior Court, accusing the pension system of violating state law by withholding information about…


California water info can remain secret, court rules

Crucial details about the location and depth of certain California water wells can be kept secret, and out of the hands of an environmental group, a top federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Although targeting a specific request for California information, the ruling by what’s sometimes called the nation’s second-highest court could shape at least a few of the other Freedom of Information Act requests nationwide. More than 700,000 FOIA requests were filed in Fiscal 2014, and the question of what can be denied recurs often.


CA: Local journalist wins Freedom of Information Award

When Thadeus Greenson first started investigating a story about the Eureka Police Department, he had no idea what trials he’d face when trying to access information through a video of an officer who arrested a minor.

Greenson, who’s covered the case since 2013, first as a reporter for the Times-Standard and later as the editor of the North Coast Journal, filed an August 2014 request for the arrest video under the California Public Records Act.


San Diego Pushes for Further Transparency with New Open Records Portal

The city of San Diego used to have a performance measure for its handling of public records requests.The Human Resources Department, which processes such inquiries, listed “percent of public records act requests completed within mandated timeline” as a key performance indicator in city budgets. In 2013, about 75 percent were completed in the required 10 days. The measure increased to 84 percent in 2014 and 85 percent in 2015.


CA: Judge jails judicial reform advocate who discussed divorce online

In a decision First Amendment experts have dubbed “outrageous,” a Contra Costa Superior Court judge jailed a San Ramon man for writing about his divorce on the internet — even though his writings were based on material publicly available in court files.

The judge, Bruce C. Mills, insisted in his decision that “matters that are put into court pleadings and brought up in oral argument before the court do not become public thereby” — a position that lawyers say fundamentally misunderstands the nature of court records.