Planning boards across New York State violate open meetings law, coalition’s study finds

In a March 2021 study of 20 town planning boards in New York State, only 25 percent posted meeting documents online as required by the New York Open Meetings Law. The New York Coalition for Open Government reviewed town websites across the state to determine if meeting documents were posted online before the meeting. The…

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Ensuring open meetings and enhancing police transparency top coalitions’ policy priorities

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, surveyed and questioned its state and local affiliates in the Winter and Spring of 2021 to obtain each affiliate’s top policy priorities and top perceived threats to transparency. The NFOIC released some results of its online survey in its “States of Denial” report,…

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Montana governments and agencies have to give specifics on who they are protecting when closing meetings

HELENA — Montana’s government bodies and agencies must give some details about whose privacy rights they are protecting when justifying closing a meeting that would otherwise be open to the public, the state Supreme Court ruled. Justices in a 5-0 decision Tuesday said that the Wolf Point School District Board of Trustees’ explanation for closing…

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City of Fort Smith (AR) and school district accused of Open Meeting violations on several occasions in 2017

The city of Fort Smith and the Fort Smith School Board were accused of violating the Freedom of Information Act on more than one occasion this year. In one instance, Sebastian County Circuit Judge Stephen Tabor found the school board to be in violation, calling an email exchange between school board members a “meeting” with…

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Wisconsin Supreme Court wrestles over open meetings law

The Wisconsin Supreme Court wrestled with how broadly to apply the state's open meetings law in a case Wednesday that open government advocates warn could provide a gateway to getting around public access requirements.

The lawsuit was brought by the parent of an Appleton Area School District student who said meetings of a committee charged with reviewing course material for a ninth grade English class should have been open to the public.

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Important open meetings case before Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is to hear arguments in a case that could give school boards and other governmental bodies a way around the open meetings law.

The case up for argument Wednesday focuses on whether meetings of a committee created by employees of the Appleton Area School District to review books for use in a ninth grade class should have been open to the public.

More broadly the court will examine whether committees created in the same way that the one in Appleton was brought together allows them to be exempt from the law.

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