California bill would open access to police misconduct records

Investigations into police shootings and other serious uses of force by law enforcement in California would be made public under new legislation.

Senate Bill 1286, announced Friday by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would also open access to findings of officer misconduct or job-related dishonesty. Law enforcement personnel records are strictly protected in California.

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Colorado colleges seek exemption to open meetings law

A bill that would allow two Colorado colleges’ governing boards to make decisions outside of public meetings is working its way through the Colorado Legislature, but it may see pushback from one of those colleges.

House Bill 1259 would allow the boards of trustees for Aims Community College and Colorado Mountain College to “meet” electronically, opening the door for meetings via web portal, email or any other digital platform through which the public would essentially be unable to attend.

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Virginia Senate passes bill to keep names of police, deputies a secret

The Virginia Senate voted 25-15 on Monday to keep the names of all police officers and deputy sheriffs a secret.

SB552 by Sen. John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, applies to any local or state officer, including officers from agencies such as the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Virginia Marine Police.

Cosgrove said during an earlier subcommittee hearing that he filed the bill in response to a November court ruling allowing The Virginian-Pilot access to names, agencies and employment dates for current Virginia police officers.

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Iowa bill would require police to release records in closed investigations

Family and friends of Autumn Steele have many questions about the day the 34-year-old mom was accidentally shot and killed by a Burlington police officer.

Why was Officer Jesse Hill holding a gun when responding to a domestic disturbance in Steele’s front yard? Did Steele’s dog bite Hill as the officer alleged? How many shots were fired?

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Pennsylvania open government expert discusses transparency, confidentiality

Back when Terry Mutchler was spending late nights at The Daily Collegian or rushing across campus to make an 8 a.m. class, she never imagined she would someday return to speak at Penn State.

On Wednesday, the 1993 graduate, an expert in open government and freedom of information matters, returned to do just that.

Mutchler leads the transparency practice at Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton law firm. The firm is at the center of document issues in multiple lawsuits related to the Jerry Sandusky case.

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Editorial: Hawaii voters want transparency, accountability

Across the nation, this seems to be a year in which not just distrust but outright contempt for government is driving the body politic.

For both major political parties, perceived outsiders are at or near the top of the polls after months of campaigning and one state caucus. A national average of public opinion polls shows less than 30 percent of Americans feel the country is headed in the right direction while more than 63 percent say it’s headed in the wrong direction.

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Letter calls for comprehensive data on police shootings

A coalition committed to government openness and accountability are calling on Congress to pass legislation aimed at improving police transparency.

The letter calls for congress to pass the Police Reporting of Information, Data and Evidence (PRIDE) Act, at a time when public pressure for comprehensive data on deadly incidents involving law enforcement has reached a high point. Continue…
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