Washington state appeals court voids $650K award to woman in public-records case

From The News Tribune:  A state appeals court panel has ruled that now-retired Pierce County Judge Frederick Fleming was wrong to award $650,000 in damages and fees to an abuse victim who sued the Department of Social and Health Services to get investigative records.

In a decision released Tuesday, the Division II panel ruled some of the records sought by Amber Wright were not subject to the state's Public Records Act and that others were not improperly withheld by DSHS because Wright's request for them was too vague.

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Mitchell Daily Republic wins case against Huron (S.D.) schools

From Mitchell Daily Republic:  HURON — A copy of a secret agreement that directed nearly $175,000 to an ex-superintendent of the Huron School District must be provided to The Daily Republic, a judge ruled Wednesday.

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In a four-page decision, Third Circuit Judge Jon Erickson said the district must release a copy of the settlement agreement between it and ex-superintendent Ross Opsal.

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How privacy advocates shined light on NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance

From The Switch blog at Washington Post:  After a legal battle that went on over a year, the federal government was forced to reveal a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISC) opinion that showed the National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in unconstitutional surveillance practices, including the collection of tens of thousands of Americans’ online communications.

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Housing agency settles challenge to ‘sham entity’

From Seattle Times:  The King County Housing Authority says it got bad legal advice when it held unannounced meetings of a nonprofit it formed in 2009.

The housing authority set up the nonprofit, Moving King County Residents Forward, as a separate organization to get a better deal on federal housing subsidies for 22 properties around King County.

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OCOG to support Enquirer in major open government cases

From Ohio Newspaper Association:   The board of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government has voted to support appeals in two Cincinnati-area cases involving Enquirer Media.

One case involves access to 911 calls and the other involves a Hamilton County juvenile court judge who was found in contempt after barring a reporter from her courtroom and attempting to ban publication or broadcast of the alleged offenders’ name.

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Lawsuit seeks to restore FOIA access to NSC records

From Politico:  A legal clinic seeking information on the U.S. Government's use of drone strikes and "kill lists" in the war on terror is mounting a headlong drive to restore the Freedom of Information Act's reach into the White House.

For decades, the core federal transparency law had some—albeit limited—purchase in the White House. At least some National Security Council records could be obtained through FOIA, along with some administrative records relating to White House operations.

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Seattle-area Housing Authority institutes transparency reforms

Settlement in Knight FOI Fund case resolves tenant’s open meeting complaint, but public records issues are still pending.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (August 6, 2013) – A public housing agency serving suburban Seattle, Wash., will institute a sweeping series of transparency measures as a result of a lawsuit made possible by the inspired persistence of an engaged public housing resident and a litigation grant made under the Knight FOI Fund.

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