‘States of Denial’ report: Exemptions pose greatest threat to government transparency

Lax enforcement, high fees, hostility also erode ‘sunshine laws,’ public’s right to know Contact: David Cuillier, NFOIC Board president Phone: 520-248-6242   Email: nfoic@nfoic.org GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, March 15, 2021 — The greatest threats to government transparency today are continued secrecy provisions added to state public record laws, particularly exemptions intended to protect personal privacy and police information. That’s according to open…

More

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.

More

Massachusetts police abuse exemption in public-records law, reform panel is told

A number of exemptions allow public agencies to keep secret routine documents that are easily accessible in most other states. Now, for the first time in more than four decades, Massachusetts lawmakers are in the midst of revamping the state’s weak public records law. As part of the overhaul, a state working group has been charged with reviewing and evaluating the way in which law enforcement agencies have used public records exemptions and will recommend changes to the Legislature by year’s end.

More

Access To Public Records In Florida May Change. Why You Should Care About It?

Florida allows some of the easiest access to government records and meetings of any state in the country under the state's Sunshine Laws.

People have a right to access state documents like minutes from meetings between government officials, foster care case files and environmental studies. Government meetings for the most part are open to the public for anyone to attend.

This is obviously helpful to reporters, lawyers and investigators, but these records are available to anyone who requests them.

More

CFOIC: Colorado Senate passes digital open-records bill, adds exemption for ‘critical infrastructure’

The Colorado Senate endorsed a heavily amended version of the open-records modernization bill Tuesday evening, adding a broad exemption to bar the disclosure of records that “could endanger public safety or the operation of critical infrastructure.”

The new provision in SB 17-040, requested by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, would exclude such data from the definition of public records in the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).

More

Plan to change Nevada open records law met with resistance

A bill proposed by the Nevada attorney general’s office to categorize and make it easier to identify exemptions to public records disclosure was met with confusion and suspicion Thursday by members of the Assembly Government Affairs Committee.

Assembly Bill 42 was the product of an interim public records working group to clarify what types of records are not subject to disclosure, said Brett Kandt with the attorney general’s office.

More

Editorial: The FAA’s Drone Registry Shouldn’t Be Exempt From FOIA Requests

When its proposed national drone registry comes online, the Federal Aviation Administration will be poised to collect the names and street addresses of recreational drone users across the country. Who will be able to access that data after it is collected? If the FAA’s drone task force has its way, the answer will be not journalists.  Continue…

————————

More