Maine’s judiciary has seen the sunlight: Court records will one day be available online. The decision announced by Chief Justice Leigh Saufley earlier this month stands to open blinds on parts of the state’s judiciary that are difficult to access, currently requiring journalists, activists and members of the public to travel to courthouses in each county to […]
An 18-month push to update Colorado’s open-records law for the digital age culminated Wednesday in the final passage of a bill that clarifies the public’s right to copies of electronic government records in useful file formats that permit analysis of information in those records.
Senate Bill 17-040 heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk after passing the House on a 39-26 vote and then repassing the Senate unanimously, all on the last day of the 2017 legislative session.
Proponents of a bill intended to make Colorado public records easier to analyze fear the University of Colorado is manipulating the bill to make records more difficult to obtain.
Senate Bill 40 concerns public access to government files, or the Colorado Open Records Act. The bill's original intent is to ensure digital records requested are provided in a searchable format.
Wisconsin's courts director is considering removing records of criminal cases that ended in dismissal or acquittals from the state's popular online courts database within months, rather than decades, out of concern that people are abusing the information.
Getting access to a city of Rochester police report, property record or purchasing data is now a matter of point and click, thanks to a new online process that Mayor Lovely Warren announced Thursday.
An estimated 3,850 open records or Freedom of Information Law requests will come into the city this fiscal year — that's at least one for every hour of business, of every working day. Much of that is pushed through via email messages, file folders and marker pens.
From the press release:
U.S. Senator Jon Tester is shining more light on the federal government by increasing transparency of public records.
Tester introduced the Public Online Information Act, which will make all public records from the Executive Branch permanently available on the Internet in a searchable database at no cost to constituents.
Emails of public officials are open for inspection under the Colorado Open Records Act, depending on their content. Such messages can reveal important insights into how government decisions are made, but using CORA to obtain emails can be a frustrating and sometimes futile exercise because records-retention policies tend to be vague and discretionary.
Peggy Scott held up a bankers box that can hold about 2,750 sheets of paper. Then she held up a small 512-gigabyte flash drive that costs about $20 and holds nearly 10,000 pages of documents, and a picture of a 5 terabyte external hard drive, which costs about $120.
“Government agencies used to have to stores these [boxes] in basements and rent out spaces,” Scott said. “[The hard drive] would hold half the print collection of the Library of Congress.”
Advocates say Senate Bill 40 does something simple: It brings the Colorado Open Records Act into the 21st century by requiring state agencies to provide information in a digital format — such as a database or a spreadsheet — where feasible.
“These are the people’s records. We are the custodians, we are the stewards of these records,” said Democratic Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins. He’s the main sponsor of the bill.
For some, the issue is more complicated.
A bill making it easier for Tennesseans to make public records requests passed an important hurdle Wednesday on its way to becoming law.
The House State Government Subcommittee recommended passage of a bill sponsored by Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville, that would require records custodians that accept requests "in writing, to accept a handwritten request submitted in person or by mail, an email request, or a request on an electronic form submitted online."