Why Tennessee Is Challenging the DOJ’s Ethics

The Justice Department has picked a fight with an obscure ethics agency in Tennessee about how much evidence — called “discovery” — federal prosecutors should have to hand over to defense attorneys there. It’s the kind of little-noticed move the department makes all the time but could have a lasting impact on the criminal justice…

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News Release – State/Local government FOI audits reveal administrative shortcomings

News Release May 30, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Daniel Bevarly  (239) 823-1811 · dbevarly@nfoic.org   State/Local government FOI audits reveal administrative shortcomings  Charging different fees for the same public record. Refusing to allow residents to use their cell phones to copy records and save money. The absence of online content to provide necessary information…

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From Tennessee Coalition for Open Government: Proposed rule change could erode access to court records, lawyers say

Some of the state’s leading news media attorneys are concerned that a proposed expansion of rules on public access to court records in Tennessee is overly broad and could erode access at the trial court level.

The Tennessee Supreme Court has proposed changing Rule 34 “Policies and Guidelines Regarding Appellate Judicial Records,” which defines certain court records not open for inspection, such as unpublished drafts of judicial orders and opinions, for appellate courts.

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Tn. Coalition for Open Government: House committee passes bill allowing requests by email with some limits for “bad players”

The House State Government committee unanimously passed H.B. 58 this week, which would make clear that citizens may send records requests by email to records custodians.

The email bill also contains a section meant to deal with multiple requests to view records from someone who never comes to review them, and requests for copies for which a person never pays for or retrieves.

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TCOG: Office of Open Records Counsel finalizes model public records policy

The Office of Open Records Counsel has published a new model public records policy that can be used by government entities in establishing records policies, which are required by law this year.

A new law mandates that all government entities in the state establish a public records policy by July 1, 2017. The policies must include the name of entity’s public records request coordinator and include information about requesting public records and any fees.

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TCOG encourages citizens to comment on draft model public records policy

The Office of Open Records Counsel is giving the public a chance to review and comment on a draft of a statewide model public records policy.

A new law requires all government entities in Tennessee to adopt a public records policy by July 1, 2017. [T.C.A. §10-7-503 (g)]. The law also requires the Office of Open Records Counsel, a state agency housed in the State Comptroller’s Office, to develop a model best practices and public records policy that can be used by the government entities.

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Tennessee: State museum foundation transparency questioned

A week and a half ago, Attorney General Herb Slatery's office issued an opinion stating that none of the donors contributing funds towards the construction of the new Tennessee State Museum need to be made public, as the non-profit Tennessee State Museum Foundation is not itself a governmental entity. But as the Knoxville News Sentinel reports, not everyone is happy with this:

Gov. Bill Haslam — who is leading the campaign — says the names should be made public, but not the exact amount of each contribution.

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Poll: Tennesseans support access to police body camera footage in cases of death/injury

The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government (TCOG) says more than 9 in 10 Tennesseans (92%) support public access to police body camera video when it records use of force that results in a citizen’s serious injury or death. That's according to a new poll by icitizen in collaboration with the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. The support crosses partisan, age and regional lines.

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