Open record requests showing huge gaps in police officer training contribute to chief’s retirement

Bedford (TX) police chief Jeff Gibson announced Monday afternoon he is retiring after 23 years with the city. The announcement came a month after Gibson was questioned during a Sept. 22 city council work session when the mayor accused him of making false statements about the level of training officers received and of failing to…

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Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas: Call for entries for 2017 Spirit of FOI Awards

The FOI Foundation of Texas is pleased to announce 2017 guidelines for the Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Award contest. The contest is open to newspaper, broadcast and online media. The Spirit of FOI Award recognizes outstanding work in promoting open government and the public’s right to know.

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Attorney: Strong evidence El Paso mayor, reps violated Texas Open Meetings Act

An attorney who specializes in open government believes there is strong evidence that showed four El Paso city council members and the mayor knowingly evaded the Texas Open Meetings Act in December.

Houston attorney Joe Larsen described the group's actions as "alarming." Larsen is a member of The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. The group works to ensure the public's business is conducted in public and protect the liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment.

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FOI Foundation Texas offers Nov. 16 Open Government Seminar in Denton

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas will host an Open Government Seminar in Denton in November featuring training in public meetings and public records laws.

The non-profit FOI Foundation, in cooperation with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office and the Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT, will offer the one-day seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 16. It is designed for government employees, journalists, attorneys and members of the general public interested in the Texas Public Information Act and Texas Open Meetings Act.

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TX: Want Basic Public Records Out of Alamo Colleges? That’ll Be $2,300

Just last year, Alamo Colleges was lauded by the state comptroller's office for its "financial transparency," winning an award for how easy the community college system supposedly makes it for taxpayers to understand how their money's being spent.

Which is odd considering the $2,340 bill the college system recently sent to a reporter asking for some of the most basic public records, information routinely requested by government watchdogs: taxpayer-funded travel records.

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Texas court mulls ‘magic words’ loophole for transparency law

The Supreme Court of Texas heard arguments Wednesday on whether to write a loophole into state public records law that would allow government agencies to avoid public scrutiny and disregard basic public records procedures simply by invoking “magic words.”

The court could also decide to eliminate a previous loophole it created, but most of its public records decisions in recent years have favored government secrecy over the transparency that Texas law used to be known for.

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Headliners Foundation of Texas announces FOI grants program

The Headliners Foundation of Texas has embarked on a one-year pilot program of grants to reimburse small-market and community news organizations in Texas for extraordinary expenses charged by governmental bodies for Open Records searches.

The grant application process will open September 6, 2016, and will continue until the 2016 Foundation funding for the grants is awarded.

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