Editorial: House must pass FOIA reforms today

Congress is quite adept at protecting its self-interest while ignoring the public’s interest, but this week offered a glimmer of hope that lawmakers still care about good governance and accountability. On Monday, the Senate unanimously passed the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act, a bill critical to changing the federal government’s culture of resistance to openness.

The House must move quickly to pass the legislation before lawmakers head home for the holidays.

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Protect your right to dig for the truth

Bad ideas, unlike fine wine, don’t get better with age.

And that’s especially true of HB 3796, a bill that would weaken FOIA, the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

It was a bad idea when it breezed through the Illinois House and Senate in May with little explanation or debate. Continue>>>
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Wisconsin legislator nixes UW record exemptions

The head of the state Assembly’s colleges committee said Monday he won’t allow the panel to vote on a bill that would largely keep University of Wisconsin System research activities secret, defusing a looming fight between the system and open government advocates.

Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, introduced a bill last week that would exempt all materials tied to any commercial, scientific or technical research from the state’s open records law before the research is published.

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First Amendment Coalition: California Open Government Roundup

A bill to strengthen the Brown Act, California’s open government law is proceeding in the state legislature. The bill adds to the reasons a district attorney or citizen can petition to void a government act for failure to provide adequate opportunity for public participation. It also provides for higher fines for public officials who try to prevent public access. (Cal Watchdog, January 16, 2014, by Katy Grimes)

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Washington State Speaker Chopp protects public’s right to know

NFOIC state affiliate  Washington Coalition for Open Government‘s presented Speaker of the House Frank Chopp with its highest award Tuesday evening. The Ballard Thompson Award is given to the state legislator who demonstrated the most “outstanding dedication to the cause of open government” the previous legislative session.

The Olympian newspaper explains why:

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New Mexico legislator seeks rules change on webcasts

Rep, Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said he will introduce legislation to expand webcasting of legislative committee hearings in an effort to improve the transparency of the Legislature. One rule change would require that all webcasts of committee meetings during the legislative session be archived. Session webcasts can now only be watched live.

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