Missouri and Rhode Island open government groups join NFOIC

News Release For Immediate Release – August 16, 2019  Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director National Freedom of Information Coalition dbevarly@nfoic.org 352-294-7082 State and local public institutions are epicenters for open government and freedom of information (FOI) challenges occurring across the nation. Government transparency is a hallmark of our democracy and journalists, organizations and residents rely on their states’…

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RI: Legislation would shield college research from APRA requests

A group of local legislators are trying to protect researchers and scientists at the state’s higher education institutions public records requests prior to completing their research. On Tuesday, a bill sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (Dist. 37-South Kingstown, New Shoreham), was heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a companion House bill introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan-McEntee (Dist. 33-South Kingstown, Narragansett), has been held for further study.

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Opinion: We must not allow government secrecy in Rhode Island

Rhode Island was the 49th state in the country to enact an open records law, and that reluctant show of support for government transparency still demonstrates itself in numerous ways.

Regrettably, when even the courts fail to vigorously enforce that law, the public’s right to know is bound to suffer significantly. The Rhode Island Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Caleb Chafee case highlights that.

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Editorial: Supreme privacy in Rhode Island

A healthy system of self-government — something Rhode Island, unfortunately, lacks — depends on public access to information about the activities of those who hold power in the people’s name.

This is something the public must insist on, because when politicians get to decide whether privacy or disclosure should take precedence, it is a safe bet the politicians will come down against the public.

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ACLU of Rhode Island report finds numerous violations of Open Meetings Act

Public meeting agendas in Rhode Island are “often vague, lacking critical information, and at times entirely unhelpful” to residents attempting to participate in their government, a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has found.

In reviewing just one week of public meeting agendas, the ACLU of RI discovered numerous violations of a critical portion of the state’s Open Meetings Act (OMA), and recommended that the law be strengthened in order to adequately protect the public’s right to know.

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Public kept in the dark when R.I. mulls economic subsidies

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Open-government advocates are criticizing Governor Raimondo's economic incentives process as she prepares to award at least $56 million in subsidies to companies she hopes will create jobs, expand in Rhode Island or move here.

The first-term governor and her aides have spent six months drafting regulations and applications, determining how to review and approve the tax and other incentives to develop new businesses.  Continue…

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Editorial: Rhode Island needs more transparency

Through the Access to Public Records Act (APRA), the press requested information from Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration regarding the hiring of former state Rep. Donald Lally and Raimondo’s truck tolls proposal. The Raimondo administration’s responses to these and other APRA requests caused advocates for open government to criticize the administration for a “pattern of disturbingly inadequate APRA responses.”

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R.I. open-government advocates press issue with governor’s chief of staff

For Sheila Mullowney, executive editor of the Newport Daily News, a recent conversation with one of her newspaper's reporters crystallized "the systemic problem" that brought her — and other open-government advocates — to the State House on Tuesday to talk with top aides to Gov. Gina Raimondo about recent difficulties getting even the most basic government records.

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