It’s government’s duty to supply information without delay, Texas coalition leader says

“If you work in government, here’s something to remember: You work for the people,” writes Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “It’s your job to ensure citizens can interact with their government and have the information they need to hold it accountable. That includes handing over public records when…

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Texas city violates Open Meetings Act in session to teach … Open Meetings Act

An Odessa, Texas, “workshop” on the state’s Open Meetings Act was itself a violation of the Open Meetings Act, experts said. Alan J. Bojorquez, an Austin-based attorney who lead the workshop, said the meeting was exempt because it was for informational purposes, the Odessa American reported. Bojorquez also claimed it was a private meeting because…

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Texas legislators pass transparency bills, but open government work remains unfinished

Texas lawmakers approved two transparency measures to ensure greater access to public records after some governments closed off information during the COVID-19 pandemic.   “We are certainly glad lawmakers made these important improvements to Texas open government laws,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “And a number of legislators…

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News Leaders Association honors First Amendment Award winners for advancing Freedom of Information principles

Journalists uncovered decades of New York police disciplinary records, detailed a university’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, and investigated deaths inside detention facilities. Their efforts have been recognized by the News Leaders Association, which announced its 2021 First Amendment Award recipients on May 12, 2021. The awards recognize “the best journalism advancing Freedom of Information…

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Rules on releasing police body-camera footage vary; nine states are most restrictive, The Hill says

Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming have the most restrictive laws regarding the disclosure of police body-camera recordings. That’s according to a May 10, 2021, article in The Hill. “With no federal requirements on releasing police videos, states often differ in their approach to making the footage publicly available,…

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Texas event focuses on transparency as a way to restore trust in government

A panel of open government experts, including Kelley Shannon of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, will discuss the importance of transparency in restoring public trust in Texas government. The Sunshine Week event begins at noon Central, Thursday, March 18. Visit the Texas Public Policy Foundation website to learn more and to register….

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Open record requests showing huge gaps in police officer training contribute to chief’s retirement

Bedford (TX) police chief Jeff Gibson announced Monday afternoon he is retiring after 23 years with the city. The announcement came a month after Gibson was questioned during a Sept. 22 city council work session when the mayor accused him of making false statements about the level of training officers received and of failing to…

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Texas AG rules HHSC should release COVID-19 nursing home data

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office ruled the Texas Health and Human Services Commission should disclose most of its data on COVID-19 in nursing homes to the public, according to a July 6 ruling. Paxton’s office rejected most of the arguments the commission made to conceal COVID-19 outbreak data related to nursing homes, according to…

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Texas City Virtual meeting may have violated Open Meetings Act

The city’s first attempt Monday at holding a virtual public meeting of the city council was plagued by technical issues that made video spotty and audio sometimes impossible to hear. Moreover, it may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Act. Under Gov. Greg Abbot’s emergency declaration, meetings of more than 10 are prohibited. A temporary…

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Four state open government champions to be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame

For Immediate Release –   March 27, 2019         Contact: Daniel Bevarly, Executive Director National Freedom of Information Coalition dbevarly@nfoic.org 352-294-7082 Four state open government champions to be inducted into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Open Government Hall of Fame   Four “Heroes of the 50 States” — representing California, Georgia, South Dakota and…

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