Deadline is extended to May 20 for NFOIC’s fourth annual FOI Research Competition

David Cuillier, Ph.D.NFOIC Board President The National Freedom of Information Coalition’s fourth annual FOI research competition deadline for proposals will be extended two weeks, until May 20, to account for the continuing demands from the pandemic and other distractions. Winning papers in the competition earn cash awards, and authors of all accepted papers receive free registration to…

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NFOIC begins transfer of admin duties to Virginia coalition, renews focus on members

The following note was sent March 24, 2022, to members of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. Dear coalition leaders and members:  We write today with an update regarding the future operations of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, as it transitions from a university-supported organization funded by one or two large grants, to a…

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After police shot and killed her son, mother uses open records laws to find answers, spark change

From “A mother’s quest for openness provides map for spurring change,” published March 1, 2022 in The Journal: A Civic Issues Magazine. “When Sheila Albers, of Kansas, couldn’t get answers to the questions she had after her 17-year-old son was shot and killed by an Overland Park police officer while the teen was in the…

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When copyright and FOI collide, public access often is denied, law article explains

State and local governments increasingly claim copyright protections to deny public access to records and data, and the tension between intellectual property laws and freedom of information laws raises difficult issues, according to an article by Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, which is a partner of the National Freedom…

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In a blow to transparency, Virginia conceals names of government workers using credit cards

On a recommendation from its vendor, Virginia has removed government employee names from credit card expenses, a move that contradicts the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, experts say. Bank of America advised state leaders to withhold the names of people with state-issued credit cards. Bank of America said the advice is intended to reduce the…

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Letter, signed by 20 organizations, supports bill to modernize court case management system

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 20 other organizations signed a Dec. 6, 2021, letter, urging Senate Judiciary Committee leaders to support the Open Courts Act.  The letter supports the bill as a way to modernize the judicial branch’s case management system, known as PACER, in ways that would improve public access. …

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Timely access to COVID-19 information serves the public interest, Wisconsin brief argues

Third-party business groups have no valid legal basis to prevent the disclosure of COVID-19 outbreaks, and timely access to such information serves the public interest, especially during a pandemic.  Those are key arguments in an amicus brief written by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and signed by 12 organizations, including the National…

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Letter urges N.Y. governor to make COVID-19 data more usable, become leader in transparency

The National Freedom of Information Coalition endorsed a letter penned by Reinvent Albany, urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to make COVID-19 data more usable by the public.  Reinvent Albany, an NFOIC member, thanked Hochul for publishing more COVID-19 open data, and it asked her to “please finish the job.” “The new COVID-19 webpage and…

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When governments bow down to private vendors, they ignore public’s right to know, experts say

Governments in many states are shirking transparency laws and blocking the public’s right to know, choosing instead to protect the intellectual property rights of private vendors.  “This is not a Kansas problem. It’s not an Oregon problem. It’s an everywhere problem,” Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, told KCUR-FM, Kansas…

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