New York Times shares its story of using open-records laws to track COVID-19 and racial inequalities

In an April 14, 2021, article, The New York Times shares insights on its use of open-records laws to gain information on COVID-19 cases. Editors say using state and federal FOI laws has allowed the Times to provide a comprehensive look at coronavirus cases nationwide, and has revealed racial inequalities regarding who has faced the…

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Powell Tribune (WY) editorial: Toughening of public records act would be a positive step

We’re pleased to see Wyoming lawmakers taking a preliminary step toward strengthening the state’s public records act. Late last month, the Legislature’s Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Interim Committee endorsed a bill that would give government officials a deadline for providing public records: They’d need to turn over the records within 17 days of…

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Denver Post Editorial: Colorado judges strike again

Look to see if Randolph Romero has had a recent criminal case brought against him and you’ll be met with the official response “no such records exist.” That is a lie perpetrated by one of the many Colorado judges who have proved themselves far too willing to seal court cases, even cases where there is…

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Judge denies Boulder County’s (CO) bid for attorney’s fees, court costs in open-records suit

A Boulder District Court judge has denied Boulder County’s effort to get Gunbarrel resident Kristin Bjornsen to pay more than $3,900 in attorney’s fees and related court costs that the county claimed was part of the expense of defending the county in an open-meetings and open-records lawsuit. Bjornsen welcomed Judge Thomas Mulvahill’s decision and said…

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Spokane-area Reps. Shea, Volz on group studying open records for Washington Legislature

Two Spokane-area representatives were named to a group trying to develop rules for records the Legislature long believed could be kept private but a judge has ruled should be open to the public. Reps. Matt Shea, of Spokane Valley, and Mike Volz, of Spokane, are the House Republican Caucus choices to sit on a Public…

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Huntsville, AL: Closed records take toll on taxpayers

[Miranda] Spivack spearheaded a database project with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called State Secrets. The project examined open records laws across the country.

"Alabama is one of the most closed," Spivack said. "Pretty much on every single question we asked, the answer was no, we don't do that. No, we can charge you anything we want. No, there's no time limit," she added.

The lack of a deadline for officials to respond leaves requesters waiting with no end in sight.

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Colorado: Open records bill changes would limit access, advocates say

Proposed last-minute changes to to Sen. John Kefalas' open records bill could remove swaths of currently available information from disclosure, open records advocates say.

The bill, which has been set for hearing twice and twice been delayed, will be heard at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday by the Senate's State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

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‘It does not feel like transparency’: Atlanta dumps 1.47 million pages of public records

The City of Atlanta decided to release 1.47 million pages of documents to the press and public—on paper. Mayor Kasim Reed announced the release in a February 9 press conference, after weeks of dithering over open records requests by local media regarding a federal investigation into more than $1 million in bribes for city contracts.

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From CFOIC: House committee unanimously endorses bill to open records on wage-law violations

A wage-theft transparency measure that died in the Colorado legislature last year passed unanimously Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee.

The amended version of HB 17-1021 is identical to a proposal that earned bipartisan House support in 2016 but was killed in a Senate committee. The bill allows the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to disclose whether an employer has cheated its workers.

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