New York Times shares its story of using open-records laws to track COVID-19 and racial inequalities

In an April 14, 2021, article, The New York Times shares insights on its use of open-records laws to gain information on COVID-19 cases. Editors say using state and federal FOI laws has allowed the Times to provide a comprehensive look at coronavirus cases nationwide, and has revealed racial inequalities regarding who has faced the…

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Wisconsin court says business group cannot block COVID-19 data

A Wisconsin appeals court panel on Monday, April 5, ruled that a business association cannot stop the state health department from releasing data about businesses linked to COVID-19 cases. The state’s Supreme Court still could prevent the release of the records, if it takes the case. The National Freedom of Information Coalition had signed an…

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Pandemic response prompts FOI lawsuits in Michigan

The University of Michigan is being sued for refusing to provide a significant portion of documents requested concerning the science and data used to support the state’s lockdown orders. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s legal foundation filed the lawsuit Dec. 7 in the state’s Court of Claims. The center’s executive vice president, Michael J….

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South Carolina refuses to say where COVID vaccine is going

North Carolina residents know exactly which hospitals will get doses first from the state’s initial supply of coronavirus vaccines. N.C. officials on Thursday released a list of 53 medical centers and health care systems that will soon receive shipments of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which federal regulators are expected to approve for emergency use…

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Los Angeles County Violates Public Records Act, Citing COVID-19

The Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health violated state law by failing to honor two separate public records requests filed by the Los Feliz Ledger during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to those well-versed in the law.  Following a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at congregate living facilities, Ledger Publisher Allison B. Cohen filed a California…

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Texas AG rules HHSC should release COVID-19 nursing home data

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office ruled the Texas Health and Human Services Commission should disclose most of its data on COVID-19 in nursing homes to the public, according to a July 6 ruling. Paxton’s office rejected most of the arguments the commission made to conceal COVID-19 outbreak data related to nursing homes, according to…

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Georgia health agency stymies requests for public records during pandemic

In the first four months of COVID-19 when Georgia saw more than 84,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,000 deaths, journalists, advocates and lawyers submitted more than 40 records requests for emails about the Department of Public Health’s response to the pandemic. The requesters sought emails regarding the state’s allocation of resources, Gov. Brian Kemp’s April…

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Knight FOI Litigation Fund supports another pandemic-related open meetings lawsuit

        July 6, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Daniel Bevarly Executive Director, NFOIC dbevarly@nfoic.org 352-294-7082 Another instance where the pandemic has been used by a public body to validate holding a public meeting without the public (17 meetings actually) has resulted in another lawsuit. Although COVID-19 has created challenges for state and…

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