WV: ACLU sends FOIA to investigate Elkins Police ‘cockroach memo’

The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia filed the first of a series of Freedom Of Information Act requests Wednesday with the Elkins Police Department to investigate the former police chief's controversial memo. The memo referred to residents as "cockroaches" and read " I want them harassed if you know they are a cockroach!"


Weston to charge fee for FOIA searches

People seeking public documents in Weston soon will have to pay a fee.

A new ordinance allows the city to charge a fee for locating public documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The fee will be equivalent to the rate of pay of the employee who conducts the search and produces the documents.

There also is a $1 charge per page for reproducing public documents. Continue>>>


Judge says W.Va. agency violated FOIA, orders release of water pollution data to law firm

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection violated the state's Freedom of Information Act when it denied a law firm's request for water pollution data, a Kanawha County judge ruled.

Circuit Judge Charles King ordered the DEP this week to provide the data to Appalachian Mountain Advocates.


Charleston attorney criticizes Supreme Court allowance of FOIA fees

A Charleston attorney predicts the state Supreme Court’s ruling will have a “chilling effect” on West Virginia’s residents seeking public documents through FOIA requests.

The 4-1 ruling, issued April 10, effectively clears the way for government organizations to charge hourly fees to fulfill requests for public documents filed through the Freedom of Information Act.


W.Va. Supreme Court allows fee for FOIA records searches

The state Supreme Court has ruled that government agencies can charge an hourly fee for locating public documents requested under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The court ruled 4-1 in a decision released Thursday.

The justices overturned a Kanawha County circuit judge’s ruling that said the city of Nitro didn’t have the authority to enact an ordinance to establish an hourly search fee for documents. The circuit judge had concluded the city could only charge for the cost of copying the documents, but the Supreme Court disagreed.


WVA State Auidtor claims transparency grade unfair

West Virginia got an unfair grade on a national survey of transparency in government spending websites in the 50 states, state auditor Glen Gainer said Thursday. A report released this week by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group gave the state’s transparencywv.org website a grade of C for transparency, giving the site high marks for easy-to-access information on state contracts and spending, but deducting points for a lack of data on economic development subsidies.


Pricing public records out of reach

Many public officials have decided just saying no to requests for government documents is not the best way to keep them secret. Indirect assaults on the public's right to know are better, they believe. That way they cannot be accused of disobeying freedom of information laws.