National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

FOIA emails show concern about Pittsylvania County (VA) DSS board

Email records obtained by the Star-Tribune through FOIA requests from Pittsylvania County Department of Social Services Director Sherry Flanagan from August 2017 indicated Flanagan was ‘fearful’ of county administrator David Smitherman and worried her board would be eliminated. On August 15, 2017, Brenda Robertson, Administrative Assistant/Legal Assistant for County Attorney Vaden Hunt emailed Flanagan to, “please forward […]

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Editorial – Texts to student phone numbers obtained via FOI request not a violation

Students at several of the commonwealth’s public universities got a surprise on their cell phones last fall: A text message urged them to register to vote, and to support the local Democrat running for the House of Delegates. The students’ cell phone numbers were obtained through a Freedom of Information request made by NextGen Virginia, […]

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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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Virginia Coalition for Open Government to host Access 2016

Join VCOG for a variety of panels, speakers and discussions on the most newsworthy topics of the day, including: government use of social media, legislative privilege, information in the age of Madison, proactive disclosure and more.

Further details:
ACCESS '16
James Madison's Montpelier
December 8, 2016
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (exact schedule to be determined)

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Virginian-Pilot editorial: Celebrating 20 years of agitating for open government

Twenty years ago, facing a rash of legislation that would adversely affect the public’s right to know, a group of advocates, public officials, academics and other civic-minded citizens began working to develop an organization to give the cause of transparency greater voice in Virginia.

Tonight, that group – the Virginia Coalition for Open Government – marks its anniversary with a dinner in Richmond.

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VCOG: Open Government Awards Nomination Form

Nominations are being accepted for VCOG’s Freedom of Information Awards, to be presented in the fall of 2016. Entries should be submitted by November 2, 2016, by filling out the form below or by mailing the same information to VCOG, P.O. Box 2576, Williamsburg VA 23187.

Awards are given to citizens, media and government for their recent efforts in keeping Virginia state or local government open and accountable to the public.

Continue…

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Virginia: Daily Press to argue for appeal in open records lawsuit

Lawyers representing the Daily Press will present an oral argument Thursday asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to review a Newport News judge's ruling that court officials do not have to release their statewide database of case information.

The court typically uses the oral argument to clarify any questions or concerns they have about the briefs the parties have filed, said Hunter Sims, the attorney representing the Daily Press.

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D.C., Md., Va. advocates oppose WMATA safety board secrecy

Transparency advocatees from D.C., Maryland and Virginia jointly urged legislators to ensure the public and news media have access to meetings and documents of the Metrorail Safety Commission proposed to oversee the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“WMATA”). The D.C. Open Government Coalition; the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association; and Virginia Coalition for Open Government sent letters Aug. 18 to key lawmakers in the three jurisdictions seeking amendments to a proposed interstate compact to establish the safety commission.

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