Former NFOIC board president, Mal Leary, passes away at age 72 – (05-26-23) – The board of the National Freedom of Information Coalition mourns the passing of longtime Maine journalist and former NFOIC president Mal Leary, a champion of government transparency in his state and nationally.
NFOIC board elects Jeff Roberts of Colorado as president – (02-27-23) — After accepting the position as the next director of the Brechner Center, Dave Cuillier is stepping down as president of NFOIC (though he will remain on the board). Jeff Roberts of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition will take his place as president, with Terry Mutchler stepping up as vice president.
(02-27-23) NFOIC launches its fifth annual FOI research paper competition. The top three papers will earn cash prizes and will be guaranteed publication in the online Journal of Civic Information, published by the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information. Read more about the competition here. learn. Submissions are due May 1.
NFOIC signs on to amicus brief challenging fee waivers – (12-05-2022) The NFOIC has signed on to a friend of the court brief prepared by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that challenges the City of Baltimore’s refusal to grant a fee waiver in a case where the original estimate was for more than a million dollars. The case arises out of Maryland Public Information Act requests by Open Justice Baltimore to the Baltimore Police Department, which demanded over one million dollars in prepayment for costs to release just a subset of the requested records.
2022 NFOIC research paper competition winners announced – (09-30-2022) Seven one-page proposals were entered and selected through double-blind peer review for final consideration. Four complete papers were submitted for final review, rated by a team of five expert judges on importance, relevance to practitioners, and strength of methodology. Three of the papers earned cash prizes for excellence.
Transparency organizations raise concerns about Uniform Law Commission’s redaction initiative – (06-17-2022) A letter from government transparency organizations urges the Uniform Law Commission to prioritize the public’s right to know when it studies the redaction of personal information from public records.
Helped by NFOIC and Knight FOI Fund, Colorado media entity sues for county records – (02-11-2022) With support from the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Knight FOI Fund and members of the community, Delta County Citizen Report (DCCR), a nonprofit media organization, filed a lawsuit Feb. 8, 2022, against Delta County and Delta County Administration citing four violations of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).
Fourth annual NFOIC competition invites research proposals focused on FOI, technology – (01-11-22) The fourth annual National Freedom of Information Coalition research competition welcomes one-page proposals for papers that shed light on freedom of information, particularly those focusing on technology and FOI.
NFOIC hires Virginia Coalition for Open Government to handle administrative duties – (12-20-2021) 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 Summit, and managing the Knight FOI Litigation Fund.
Boosted by Knight FOI Litigation Fund, Florida resident compels county group to meet in public – (11-23-2021) An Osceola County, Florida, judge ruled Nov. 22, 2021, that the county violated the state’s Sunshine Law by holding Executive Policy Group meetings without public notice or opportunity for the public to attend.
Online 2021 FOI Summit promotes greater inclusion, sets attendance record – (10-30-2021) The 2021 FOI Summit, hosted by the National Freedom of Information Coalition, set an FOI Summit attendance record, bringing together 304 total attendees, including 72 speakers.
Journalists of Color, state coalitions benefit from NFOIC program funded by SPJ Foundation grant – (10-12-2021) A $5,000 grant from the SPJ Foundation to NFOIC helped 24 journalists of color sharpen their skills in acquiring public records and connected them to experts in more than 12 states.
Letter, signed by NFOIC, urges New York governor to publish COVID data – (09-27-2021) Ten open government groups, including the National Freedom of Information Coalition, signed a Sept. 7, 2021, letter urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to publish COVID-19 data.
NFOIC joins amicus brief supporting release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey – (07-29-2021) The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 23 other organizations joined a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief supporting the release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey.
NFOIC signs brief, urging access to opinions of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – (06-01-2021) The National Freedom of Information Coalition, along with 30 other organizations, signed a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press amicus brief in support of greater access to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions and orders.
NFOIC aligns with cold case platform Uncovered, to leverage public records in solving mysteries – (04-02-2021) NFOIC partnered with Uncovered: A Cold Case Platform, an interactive one-stop-shop cold case database that visualizes missing and murdered case information.
NFOIC’s latest research explores transparency in state and local economic development incentives – (11-17-2020) NFOIC’s latest research explores transparency in state and local economic development incentives.
NFOIC to Expand Collaboration with the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information in Restructuring – (10-26-2020) The National Freedom of Information Coalition will combine forces with the University of Florida’s Brechner Center for Freedom of Information in developing new programs that foster government transparency and serve state coalitions for open government.
Two new members join NFOIC’s Board of Directors – (10-16-2020) The members of the National Freedom of Information Coalition voted to add two new members to the organization’s board of directors during its virtual annual meeting yesterday.
NFOIC Announces Winners of 2020 FOI Research Competition – (09-10-2020) Nine winning research papers have been accepted to the second National Freedom of Information Coalition FOI research competition.
Job Opening: NFOIC is hiring an outreach coordinator – (09-10-2020) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is seeking an outreach coordinator to support a network of state open government organizations through programs that position them for success.
Guam open government leader joins NFOIC – (08-19-2020) The Vigilance Committee, Inc. a nonprofit organization in the U.S. Territory of Guam, is the newest member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC).
Knight FOI Litigation Fund supports another pandemic-related open meetings lawsuit – (07-06-2020) In Osceola County, FL, the board of commissioners have been charged with repeatedly denying access to meeting minutes and public access to meetings of the county’s Executive Policy Group (EPG), which is a decision-making board during a state of emergency.
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico open government group is NFOIC’s newest coalition member – (06-29-2020) Espacios Abiertos (Open Spaces), an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization promotes open, transparent and accountable government in Puerto Rico to create and strengthen mechanisms for civic participation.
Join a conversation on police transparency reforms – (06-19-2020) Join moderator Valerie Lemmie of the Kettering Foundation, Colorado Representative Leslie Herod, Susan Hutson of NACOLE, the Brechener Center’s Frank LoMonte and Nabiha Syed of the Mark Up for a conversation about police transparency reforms.
50+ organizations sign NFOIC-Brechner Center statement on police records transparency – (06-12-2020) More than 50 organizations have signed on in support of the statement, which calls for states to enact reforms opening every aspect of the police misconduct oversight process to public scrutiny.
Knight FOI Fund supports lawsuit for “illegal” city council meeting during pandemic – (05-29-2020) A lawsuit filed by two Florida open government attorneys charge three council members in the City of Sebastian with holding an illegal meeting and violating all four requirements of Florida’s sunshine law.
More than 144 Organizations Sign Statement on Government Coronavirus Emergency Transparency – (04-01-2020) NFOIC and the Brechner Center wrote a statement to state, tribal and local public institutions voicing concerns about transparency and access to meetings and records as these institutions respond to the Coronavirus emergency and continue their administrative deliberations.
New service tracks state transparency-related bills – (03-16-2020) A new bill tracking tool will allow the public to more easily access information about transparency-related bills in their state legislatures. NFOIC has created 51 dashboards on its website for each state and the District of Columbia.
Biennial open government survey reveals big challenges – (03-16-2020) Fewer watchdogs, uncooperative public officials are biggest challenges to open government today, according to Open Government Survey. “The impact from the decline in local and regional news media can be seen in the responses since the survey began in 2009. ”
NFOIC’s latest white paper examines open records laws enforcement – (02/12/2020) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is pleased to announce the publication of its latest white paper, “Blueprint to Transparency: Non-compliance and Lack of Enforcement of Open Records Laws in Select U.S. States.” The paper looks at the varying enforcement mechanisms by state governments, including criminal penalties, civil penalties and attorney fee-shifting.
FOI/Open Government coalitions from Pennsylvania and Nevada join NFOIC – (02/12/2020) The Pennsylvania Freedom of Information Coalition and the Nevada Coalition for Open Government become NFOIC’s newest state FOI alliances. Now, 37 states and the District of Columbia make up the National Freedom of Information Coalition, whose mission is to make sure state and local governments and public institutions have laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.
NFOIC and Brechner Center 2020 Freedom of Information Paper Competition Call – (02/11/2020) Do you have research in freedom of information that will make a difference? Then submit your proposal to the FOI research paper competition for presentation at the Sept. 24-26, 2020, national FOI summit in Kansas City. Top-three papers will earn cash prizes and the top three papers will be guaranteed publication in the online Journal of Civic Information.
NFOIC reveals pilot project results looking at 2019 state transparency bills nationwide – (01/15/2020) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is pleased to announce the publication of its latest research, “Legislating Open Government: The Prevalence of Transparency-Related Language in 2019 State Legislative Bills.” The report is a culmination of a months-long pilot project analyzing all bills introduced in 2019 sessions across the U.S. …
FOI-L listserv moves to NFOIC – (11/07/2019) After 25 years being hosted at the University of Syracuse, the national forum for persons working on open government and transparency issues has relocated to the NFOIC…
Blog Post: Atlanta launches new culture of transparency – (10/4/2019) Anyone interested in transparency in state and local governments must be following the developments in the City of Atlanta. Yesterday, the city unveiled its new compliance strategy…
NFOIC urges independence for Oregon’s Public Records Advocate – (09/13/19) Open, accessible and accountable government with freedom to public information without interference from governing bodies — or elected officials — is essential to our democratic republic. But that fundamental value may be at stake in Oregon…
NFOIC’s latest white paper focuses on technology and transparency – (09/05/2019) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is pleased to announce the publication of its latest white paper, “Portal to Compliance: A Qualitative Analysis of Online Public Record Request Services in Major U.S. Cities.” The paper examines the varying capabilities of online portals hosted by government agencies, as well as solutions provider capabilities, pricing, administrative practices and what makes portals effective and efficient.
Missouri and Rhode Island open government groups join NFOIC – (08/19/2019) The Missouri Sunshine Coalition and Access Rhode Island are now part of a national network of state FOI organizations which include citizen-driven nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys.
NFOIC adopts ‘2020 Vision’ for improving state and local government transparency – (08/15/2019) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is doubling down on its efforts to help state government transparency groups strengthen laws, improve agency record dissemination practices, and diversify the open-government community.
NFOIC Announces FOI Research Competition Winners – (03/29/2019) Twelve winning research papers have been accepted to the first National Freedom of Information Coalition FOI research competition. The papers will be presented April 12, 2019, at the NFOIC National FOI Summit in Dallas. In all, 18 one-page proposals were entered.
Four state open government champions to be inducted into the NFOIC’s Open Government Hall of Fame – (03/27/2019) Four “Heroes of the 50 States” — representing California, Georgia, South Dakota and Texas with backgrounds in journalism, local government, law and academia joined an elite group.
Open government is under attack in Kentucky (again) – (03/04/2019) In a shocking effort by the Kentucky Legislature to undermine government transparency and accountability, Rep. Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) has introduced HB 387, which aims to make it harder for Kentuckians to know how their tax dollars are being used by the commonwealth to lure and incentivize businesses to locate there.
Nominations sought for the State Open Government Hall of Fame – (01/14/2019) The National Freedom of Information Coalition is seeking nominations for this year’s “Heroes of the Fifty States,” the Open Government Hall of Fame. The open government hall of fame recognizes individuals for their “long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy.”
2019 National FOI Summit to celebrate 30 years along with NFOIC (01/01/2019) – The 2019 National FOI Summit will convene April 12-13 in Dallas Texas, where it all began 30 years ago when NFOIC was formed by a handful of state press associations.
NFOIC Freedom of Information Paper Competition “Call for Papers” – (12/4/18) Do you have research in freedom of information (FOI) that will make a difference? Then submit your proposal to earn a chance to present at the national FOI summit April 12-13, 2019 in Dallas, and to earn cash prizes publication in the new online Journal of Civic Information to be launched spring 2019 by the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information.
NFOIC White Paper explores vexatious, or “burdensome” public records requests – (12/03/18) A growing concern among news organizations and open government advocates is the labeling of a certain type of public records request as vexatious, unduly burdensome, nuisance, voluminous, or just annoying. Both government and journalists use these terms to apply to two forms of records request.
Reforms to solve open government challenges dominate FOI Summit discussions – (09/26/18) This year’s conference included candid discussions about FOI and open government reforms needed in state legislatures and state and local government agencies. Deliberations included the need for evidence-based research and analysis to effectively address the challenges to transparency and access surrounding public information, proceedings and officials.
“Living Legend of Open Government” to be inducted into Open Government Hall of Fame – (09/12/18) An AP award-winning journalist and the founding executive director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Open Records, Terry Mutchler, is this year’s inductee into the “Heroes of the 50 States” Open Government Hall of Fame which recognizes long-term contributions of individuals to open government in their respective states.
State/Local government FOI audits reveal administrative shortcomings – (05/30/18) The independent findings from three state FOI audits in Florida, Illinois and Tennessee disclose an ongoing challenge to government agencies to comply with their state’s open government laws and demonstrate consistent policy practices.
NFOIC requests Google disable Gmail “self-destructing” feature for government communiqués – (05/04/18) Gmail’s new “self-destructing” email feature could allow government employees to delete public records subject to federal, and state open government and Freedom of Information laws.
Report Documents Florida’s Lack of Accountability for Public Records Requests – (04/16/18) Despite having some of the most open public records laws in the country, Florida’s lack of accountability for state or county records requests has resulted in wide variations in fees charged, according to a report released by WUFT, the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and the Florida Firstst Amendment Foundation supported by NFOIC and the Knight Foundation.
Recent legislative actions in Kentucky, Iowa and Washington demonstrate urgent need for state FOI and open government reforms – (03/23/18) Existing laws directing state government transparency and accountability to residents are under threat. Three recent actions by state legislatures in Kentucky, Washington and Iowa to circumvent their state’s public records and public meeting laws demonstrate the sweeping efforts by legislative bodies to undermine democracy in their jurisdictions.
National Freedom of Information Coalition to Relocate to the University of Florida – (03/14/18) The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications will become the new home for NFOIC this summer and provide UF with three units at the forefront of freedom of information and First Amendment issues: NFOIC, the Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project. NFOIC will be located inside the Brechner Center and the two organizations will collaborate to create research and public-awareness projects advancing the access rights of journalists, and all citizens, to information about issues of public concern.
Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute, to provide keynote address at 2017 FOI Summit – (09/21/2017) Accomplished First Amendment litigator Jameel Jaffer will share his thoughts on today’s open government challenges and FOI litigation as the keynote speaker at the 2017 FOI Summit. Jaffer is the founding director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. He assumed his current position in June 2016 after leaving his position with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as its deputy legal director.
“Skillful” First Amendment attorney from Iowa is 2017 Inductee to the State Open Government Hall of Fame – (09/15/2017) Each year, the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), in collaboration with the Society of Professional Journalists, solicits nominations for First Amendment “heroes” whose deeds, actions and achievements merit designation and induction into this institution. The intent is to recognize individuals whose lifetime commitment to citizen access, open government and freedom of information has left a significant legacy at the state and local level.
Media of Nebraska becomes NFOIC’s newest state FOI alliance – (07/26/2017) Media of Nebraska, a 40-year-old non-profit coalition of print and electronic news organizations operating in Nebraska has become the newest member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC). Forty-five states and the District of Columbia make up NFOIC whose mission is to make sure state and local governments and public institutions have laws, policies and procedures to facilitate the public’s access to their records and proceedings.
2016 FOI Summit Concludes – Challenges to public records access in a digital age among top issues – (10/10/2016) The annual two-day FOI Summit convened in Washington, D.C. and featured presentations on policing transparency, open data, proactive disclosure, attorney fees, FOI litigation and advocacy campaigns. The continually growing challenge for government to manage, and for open records petitioners to obtain, public information in an increasing digital age was a recurring theme throughout the summit. Continue..
“The godfather of nonprofit investigative journalism” to keynote 2016 FOI Summit – (09/082016)A best selling author and national investigative journalist for over 30 years, Charles “Chuck” Lewis will be the featured keynote speaker at NFOIC’s annual FOI Summit. Charles is a former producer for CBS News 60 Minutes and a reportorial producer for ABC News. He began the Center for Public Integrity from his home in 1989, growing it to a full-time staff of 40 people. He led the Center until 2005 when he co-founded Global Integrity. Continue…
2016 State Open Government Hall of Fame Inductee Announced – (09/01/2016)A former Tennessee and National Press Association president, AP board member, judge, district attorney, newspaper editor and publisher has been become the 16th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. Formal induction takes place on October 8th at the 2016 Freedom of Information Summit in Washington, D.C. More…
2016 FOI Summit Announced – (06/01/2016) The nation’s capital and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Freedom of Information Act will serve as backdrops for the 2016 FOI Summit. The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the D.C. Open Government Coalition (DCOGC) will convene the summit on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8, 2016 at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C. More…
FOI Fund contributes to U.S. Circuit Court ruling“Educational Requester” status to students – (05/25/2016) A United States Circuit Court in the District of Columbia ruled last week in a far-reaching federal FOIA case that “Educational Requester” status in federal FOIA petitions applies to all students seeking government information for educational purposes. The plaintiff used a loan from the Knight FOI Fund administered by NFOIC to finance her appeal. More…
Nominations sought for the State Open Government Hall of Fame “Heroes” – (05/24/2016) The State Open Government Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has made a substantial, sustained and lasting contribution to open government or freedom of information within one particular state. Nominations are accepted until July 15th. More…
Troubling Trends from Biennial Open Government Survey – (03/17/2016) NFOIC’s fourth biennial joint survey with the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) shows a continuing trend that should be troubling to anyone who supports democratic freedom and open government including access to public institutions. Much of this challenge is coming from new digital forms of public records and how they are being created, classified and retrieved. More…
NFOIC Names New Officers/Board Members at Annual FOI Summit – (10/11/2015) The National Freedom of Information Coalitiontoday announced its 2016 officers and new board members during the 2015 FOI Summitin Denver. The new officers include: Mal Leary, President (vice president, Maine Freedom of Information Coalition); Katherine Garner, Vice President (executive director Florida First Amendment Foundation); Mark Horvit, Treasurer (executive director, Investigative Reporters and Editors); Megan Rhyne, Secretary (executive director, Virginia Coalition for Open Government). More…
NFOIC FOI Fund helps settle open meetings lawsuit in Florida – (09/10/2015) Florida’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County ruled in favor of a retired Tampa firefighter who was kept out of a 2012 pension board meeting. The Board of Trustees of the City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Tampa kept Dennis Ribaya out of the monthly pension board meeting with a “no trespass order.” According to the court filing, the Pension Board falsely accused him of “disrupting” a June meeting for saying an expletive. More…
AP General Counsel Karen Kaiser to Keynote 2015 FOI Summit – (09/08/2015) The Associated Press General Counsel Karen Kaiser will be keynote speaker Oct. 10 at the 2015 FOI Summit Hall of Fame Luncheon in Denver, Colorado. Kaiser, who serves as AP senior vice president, counsels global AP reporters on all editorial matters including subpoena and libel defense, government investigations, reporter’s privilege, and access issues. Her efforts to ensure open and transparent government include leading AP’s legal strategy against the U.S. Department of Justice following the seizure of AP’s phone records and its lawsuit against the State Department for access to the emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. More…
Veteran newspaper editor and Sunshine Week pioneer named to FOI Hall of Fame – (08/31/2015) Former Miami Herald managing editor, Pete Weitzel has become the 16th inductee into the State Open Government Hall of Fame. Known as the “Heroes of the Fifty States,” the Open Government Hall of Fame is a joint initiative of the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the Society of Professional Journalists. Inductees are recognized for their “long and steady effort to preserve and protect the free flow of information about state and local government that is vital to the public in a democracy.” Formal induction takes place on October 10th at the 2015 Freedom of Information Summit in Denver, Colorado. More…
2015 Open Government survey to measure transparency of public institutions – (08/25/2015) The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and the New York-based Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) has sent its fourth biennial open government survey to its members to identify current trends in public institutions for requesting and accessing public records. This year, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) will participate and include their membership in the survey. Combined, the three organizations have 8,000 members who will receive the 24 question survey. Participants will include professionals from the news media, the legal profession and government watchdog organizations. More…
FOI filing and tracking requests now available from participating NFOIC state and regional coalitions with FOIA Machine – (08/12/2015) The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) and FOIA Machine (FM) have teamed to help people file and track their FOI requests online through select NFOIC state and regional member web sites. Visitors to more than 20 NFOIC member coalition web sites will be able to use FOIA Machine’s technology to prepare, file and track their FOI request to public agencies at the local, state, or federal levels. More…
NFOIC provides funding for open meetings lawsuit in Florida – (07/18/2015) The Knight FOI Fund, a legal war chest administered by the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), has awarded a $5,000 grant to support a Florida lawsuit that could invalidate a March 2011 ballot referendum in St. Pete Beach on the grounds that the city commission made improper, closed-door decisions authorizing the citywide vote. Attorney Kenneth Weiss of Treasure Island, FL said he would file a lawsuit on behalf of St. Pete Beach resident Jim Anderson contending that the city made decisions authorizing the vote in illegal secret meetings in November 2010 and January 2011.
Knight FOI fund helps bring settlement in Florida Governor Lawsuit – (06/24/2015) The Associated Press reported that Florida Governor Rick Scott and his Cabinet are settling a lawsuit* filed by media organizations and others over the firing of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement chief Gerald Bailey. The lawsuit was filed by St. Petersburg attorney Matthew Weidner, Citizens for Sunshine and nine media organizations including the Florida First Amendment Foundation and the Associated Press. To help with litigation costs, Mr. Weidner applied for and received an FOI grant from the National Freedom of information Coalition (NFOIC). NFOIC offers litigation grants to qualified applicants to pursue important open government cases. The fund is made possible through a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to NFOIC, the fund’s administrator. More…
NFOIC and SPJ combine war chests to fight for Freedom of Information – (03/23/2015) The Society of Professional Journalists and the National Freedom of Information Coalition are joining forces – and legal war chests – to help citizens and journalists fight for public records. The two groups will band together to help litigants who sue for access to government information. The NFOIC can provide court fees and SPJ help for attorney fees. Both organizations also will use their combined national networks of journalists and citizens to apply public pressure to government agencies that flaunt the law.
2015 Sunshine Week NFOIC state affiliate activities – (03/16/2015) NFOIC and its state and regional affiliate members are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Sunshine Week 2015. Together, we have planned events and announcements to recognize this important annual event. More…