As he tries to save lives of those in recovery, Virginia advocate is denied the state data he needs

By Lila GreenbergStudent research assistantBrechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida  Michael McDermott is locked in a legal battle with the state of Virginia in his quest to publish overdose response incidents and shed light on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of state programs battling drug addiction.  His efforts, he says, will…

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NFOIC hires Virginia Coalition for Open Government to handle administrative duties

Three-year contract is intended to provide stability, continuous support to members FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 20, 2021Contact: Todd Fettig, NFOIC executive director Phone: 352-294-7082   Email: nfoic@nfoic.org The National Freedom of Information Coalition will hire the Virginia Coalition for Open Government to handle the NFOIC’s administrative duties, including collecting dues and donations, planning the annual FOI…

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In a blow to transparency, Virginia conceals names of government workers using credit cards

On a recommendation from its vendor, Virginia has removed government employee names from credit card expenses, a move that contradicts the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, experts say. Bank of America advised state leaders to withhold the names of people with state-issued credit cards. Bank of America said the advice is intended to reduce the…

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Frosty Landon, NFOIC Hall of Famer, remembered for ‘heroic’ efforts to promote open government, establish state coalitions

Frosty Landon, a one-time president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition board who was instrumental in advising new NFOIC coalitions in the 2000s, is being remembered as a hero and advocate for open government. Landon died July 19, 2021, at age 87. Landon, longtime editor of the Roanoke Times & World-News in Virginia, was…

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Virginia lawmaker wants to cut FOIA fees, but some in government are pushing back

Danica Roem, a former journalist who serves in the Virginia House of Delegates, has introduced legislation requiring Virginia public bodies to fulfill records requests for free, unless the request takes more than two hours of staff time to fulfill. Critics of the bill said FOIA requests sometimes are used to “harass” public officials, and the…

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Editorial: Public has a right to see criminal records

Like every other human behavior, crime has consequences, and not only for victims and their families. Perpetrators eventually find out that a criminal record can be a major impediment to getting a job, housing or educational benefits. Efforts currently underway in the General Assembly to automatically expunge certain criminal records in Virginia are an attempt…

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Former Journalists Push Press Freedom in Virginia House of Delegates

The Virginia General Assembly now has two former journalists as members, and they are hoping to move forward with bills to increase press freedom. High school newspapers shouldn’t be bullied or told what to do by principals and administrators. That’s the idea behind a bill introduced by Delegate Chris Hurst, a Democrat from Blacksburg who…

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Judge rules Virginia’s judiciary not subject to FOIA

A retired circuit court judge has ruled the Virginia Freedom of Information Act does not apply to the state’s judiciary, a ruling that could potentially hinder access to records of the judicial branch of government, like expense reports or phone bills. The Oct. 15 ruling by retired Judge William Alexander II came in a dispute…

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Numerous phone-in Charlottesville council meetings held before policy instated

Charlottesville city councilors appear to have improperly phoned in to numerous meetings, including those dealing with hiring of an interim city manager. In August, the council passed a policy — apparently for the first time — allowing councilors to phone in to meetings in certain situations. Since 2014, state law has required local public bodies…

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