‘States of Denial’ report: Exemptions pose greatest threat to government transparency

Lax enforcement, high fees, hostility also erode ‘sunshine laws,’ public’s right to know Contact: David Cuillier, NFOIC Board president Phone: 520-248-6242   Email: nfoic@nfoic.org GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, March 15, 2021 — The greatest threats to government transparency today are continued secrecy provisions added to state public record laws, particularly exemptions intended to protect personal privacy and police information. That’s according to open…

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Retrospect – Celebrating Sunshine Week During the COVID-19 Crisis

As a nation, we have celebrated the week of James Madison’s birthday (March 16) as Sunshine Week for 15 years. Throughout the week, news outlets and open government advocacy groups issue articles and reports on the public’s right to know what its government is doing. Meetings scheduled during Sunshine Week allow journalists, educators, librarians, civic…

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Sunshine Week Blog Post from NEFAC – Fallout from 38 Studios and the State of Open Government in Rhode Island

When Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and members of the state’s House of Representatives recently demanded that records relating to one of the biggest and most publicized loan investigations in the state be made public, it was an early Sunshine Week gift for the public and especially for advocates of open government.

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Celebrate Sunshine Week, FOI Day and James Madison’s birthday with VCOG at Pop-Up Sunshine Day

On Thursday, March 16, join those in the know as they share short takes on FOIA, access, transparency and more. We'll also show the 2006 PBS profile of Virginia FOIA hero Lee Albright — always a classic — then we'll dim the lights and bring out the snacks to watch last year's best picture Oscar winner about investigative journalism, "Spotlight."

The event is free, but you must register and a donation to VCOG is strongly encouraged.

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Exceptions growing to government transparency in Minnesota

Exceptions to government transparency are growing in Minnesota as lobbyists for local officials, law enforcement and businesses gain exemptions under the state's public records law.

The number of secrecy provisions in Minnesota's public records law has risen to at least 660, the Star Tribune reported Sunday in a story kicking off Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information.

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NEFAC, Media and FOI Advocates to Celebrate Sunshine Week, Open Government

The New England First Amendment Coalition will join open government advocates throughout the country to celebrate this 12th annual Sunshine Week.

Sunshine Week, from March 12-18, is a national campaign to promote dialogue about the importance of transparency and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, non-profits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.

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How two court rulings involving universities breathe new life into the right to know

Sunshine Week brought some welcome news for transparency advocates this year: Two state courts ruled, in suits brought by news organizations, that freedom-of-information laws require private entities to disclose their records if they perform a public function.

The rulings, which arrived last week during the annual effort to promote awareness of open government, took up one of the key recurring disputes in public-records law, and both resolved it in favor of greater access.

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Editorial: Public access woes in Illinois cloud Sunshine Week

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan released her office’s annual Public Access Report Wednesday, the timing of which coincided with Sunshine Week, the celebration of laws that ensure Illinoisans’ access to governmental records and meetings.

Madigan reported that the state’s Public Access Bureau received thousands of requests in 2015 for help in gaining access to public information – 4,770, to be exact.

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