Withheld details on coronavirus in Arizona care facilities critical to public safety, lawyer says

Letting the Arizona Department of Health Services withhold information about COVID-19 cases elevates the financial interests of long-term-care facilities above the public’s right to know — and protect itself — the attorney for state news outlets told a judge Wednesday. David Bodney asked Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury to rule that the state…

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Iowa is denying the public access to some records of its COVID-19 response

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration has denied some requests for information about Iowa’s preparedness and response to the novel coronavirus by citing a broad exemption in the state’s public records law. Two Iowa agencies have denied Des Moines Register requests this month seeking documentation of the state’s pandemic response plan and daily reports regarding the state’s response to the virus and COVID-19,…

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Local Governments Are Hard to Find as Coronavirus Ends Public Meetings

Communities across the country are finding themselves in a bind as they try to pass urgent legislation to combat the coronavirus pandemic at the same time public meetings are impossible. Open-government advocates say many city councils, school boards and other governing bodies are failing at the task, holding meetings that are inaccessible to the public, rushing actions…

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Coronavirus clampdown: The virus casts a shroud over American civic life

States and cities across the country are cutting off access to open records and canceling in-person meetings, starving the public — not to mention lobbyists and other influence-brokers — of information as the coronavirus outbreak reaches into all corners of civic life. The public access shutdown comes just as local officials make unprecedented decisions about…

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COVID-19 alters government transparency rules

WEST MICHIGAN — Public meetings — and public access to those meetings — look a little bit different in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the greater Holland area, township trustees are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance together over the phone and logging on to video calls to take votes on water utility…

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Government Secrecy is Growing During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Students at the University of Florida who want to know how they are being protected from the COVID-19 pandemic can’t find out. The university is hiding its emergency response plan under a legal loophole intended to keep terrorists and enemy combatants—not viruses—from exploiting government weaknesses. Since the spread of coronavirus accelerated in recent weeks, local, state and…

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Washington Governor Inslee relaxes open government laws

To further facilitate the social distancing and stay-at-home orders put in place in the past two weeks, Gov. Jay Inslee suspended several parts of the state’s government transparency laws this week. The order, which is in effect until April 24, temporarily waives certain requirements of Washington’s Open Public Meeting and Public Records acts. Public meetings…

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