National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Audit of Maine police agencies produces inconsistent results; 1 in 5 didn’t respond

When law enforcement agencies across Maine were asked to turn over records of complaints and discipline, some departments provided a bundle of records, some provided basic information — and one in five did not respond at all. That’s according to an audit conducted by the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, a member of the National […]

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Delays to files ‘can result in a complete denial of meaningful access,’ argues brief signed by NFOIC

The National Freedom of Information Coalition joined a Dec. 15, 2021, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amici curiae brief. The brief, signed by 28 organizations, urges a federal appeals court to overrule a lower court that allowed Maine court clerks to delay public access to newly filed civil complaints. Maine’s recently implemented amendments […]

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Rules on releasing police body-camera footage vary; nine states are most restrictive, The Hill says

Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming have the most restrictive laws regarding the disclosure of police body-camera recordings. That’s according to a May 10, 2021, article in The Hill. “With no federal requirements on releasing police videos, states often differ in their approach to making the footage publicly available, […]

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In spite of law, Maine police conceal officer discipline records, newspapers report

In Maine, police officer discipline records are public documents. But law enforcement agencies often evade transparency. That’s according to a joint investigation by the Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald, with funding from the Pulitzer Center. Among the findings: It was impossible to tell from available records why most of the 19 state police […]

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Maine lawmakers routinely use private email for public business

Private email for public business was a front and center controversy during the presidential election.

Now the I-Team discovers some Maine lawmakers routinely bypass the state email server and use their personal accounts for state business, raising questions of transparency and accountability.

Even when they're in session, most Maine lawmakers are never far from their devices and their emails, in constant contact with lobbyists, donors, and their constituents.

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South Portland Police Department releases its body camera policy

The South Portland Police Department has released the document that spells out its officers should use the body cameras that they will begin wearing in a few weeks.

The department posted the policy on its Facebook page following calls from civil liberties advocates for assurance the the cameras will not be used to invade people’s privacy. The policy was not initially released when the department announced that it would begin using the technology. The ACLU of Maine filed a public records request for the document, according Legal Director Zach Heiden.

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Lawmaker’s call to stop recording Maine legislative committees thwarted

In what could be a blow to public access to Maine’s State House proceedings, Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon, is questioning whether legislative committee meetings should continue to be recorded and archived.

Streamed online, the public meetings of the Legislature and its standing committees are available to anyone with an Internet connection. The sessions are also digitally recorded and are made available upon request to those who ask for them. Also streamed, recorded and archived are the proceedings of the state House and Senate. 

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Editorial: Fine would teach Maine education funding panel about open meetings law

The first meeting this week of a special state commission on education funding has made clear that the panel has a lot to learn about government transparency and accountability.

The group flouted Maine’s open-meetings law by getting together behind closed doors. Each member of the commission could now face a hefty fine – and they should, if the public’s right to know is to stand for anything.

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Maine rail cargo secrecy law bypassed public access, safety defenses

After a runaway oil train killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, just miles from the Maine border in 2013, Mainers demanded to know more about the state’s railways.

How much oil was moving through Maine? Which companies shipped it and along what routes? Was the government doing enough to keep communities safe?

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