Volume 2, Issue 2

FOI InSight, an open government newsletter
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FOI InSight is a publication from the National Freedom of Information Coalition featuring and aggregating news and analysis about FOI and open government issues, and delivering items of interest to and about our state member organizations, partners and stakeholders. 

We welcome suggestions for future newsletters and ask that you send us ideas for and links to news about your organization and other FOI and open government-related items and events.


 InSight HighLights 


Latest winners in the Knight Community Information Challenge

The Knight Foundation has announced the latest winners in its Knight Community Information Challenge. This is an important ongoing partnership. Congratulations to the winning projects, and thanks to Knight and the community foundations around the country that are supporting them. 

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A special sneak preview of OpenTheGovernment.org's 2013 Secrecy Report

Be on the lookout for the upcoming release of the latest version of the Secrecy Report. As regular readers may know, this report includes multi-year tracking and analysis of indicators of openness and secrecy in the federal government. Among the indicators included in the report are: national intelligence spending, responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, classification and declassification, and more. 

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 NFOIC Members & Friends 


NEFAC will honor NY Times' James Risen with Hamblett Award

James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who's done ground-breaking work on domestic spying and now faces legal peril for refusing to disclose the source for his account of a failed CIA operation in Iran, will receive the 2014 Stephen Hamblett Award from the New England First Amendment Coalition. Also see more content on the latest NEFAC Report

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2013 First Amendment Foundation (Florida) Sunshine Seminars – Registration now open

The registration for the 2013 Florida First Amendment Foundation Sunshine Seminars is now open. Registration is limited so be sure to reserve your spot today. 

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Washington COG recognizes Kirkland for open government

The Washington Coalition for Open Government recognized the Kirkland City Council during the Sept. 17 meeting for its recent adoption of records retention rules and procedures. 

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Mackinac Center files FOIA suit against City of Westland, Mich.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has filed a lawsuit against the city of Westland for what they say is an illegal fee on people seeking public information. The case was triggered by the FOIA requests filed by Capitol Confidential who was seeking financial information of every municipality in the state which operates a golf course. 

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New Mexico Foundation for Open Government sues AG's office, HSD to release behavioral health audit

The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government announced it would sue for the release of a behavioral health audit from the Attorney General’s office as well as the Human Services Department. The group said it was suing through the Inspection of Public Records Act. NM FOG wants for unredacted versions of the audit to be released. 

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Linda Petersen, president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, debates roles of government spokespersons at National Press Club event

Linda Petersen, president of the Utah Foundation for Open Government, recently participated in a debate over censorship by government public information officers. The event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. this past month addressed the issue of government spokespeople limiting reporters’ access to officials at agencies, monitoring interviews and even banning reporters from speaking to certain agencies. 

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Iowa FOI Council 2013 edition of annual newsletter

The annual newletter from Iowa FOI Council is out. Among many things of interest is notice of the 15th edition of the Open Meetings/Open Records Handbook. 

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 News from the States 


LSU presidential search records will be given to judge, but not public, under new compromise

Information about the candidates LSU considered for university president will be provided to a state district judge, but not to the public or the newspapers who are suing for the information, under a new compromise between the attorneys in the case. The information will be kept secret until LSU finishes its appeals process, which could take months. 

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Wisconsin AG says he must defend legislator's immunity in open records lawsuit

Wisconsin's open records laws apply to legislators but they can claim immunity from lawsuits seeking their documents, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. Hollen has been criticized after the state Justice Department argued in court filings last week that the Wisconsin Constitution grants Sen. Leah Vukmir immunity from a Center for Media and Democracy lawsuit seeking records from an American Legislative Exchange Conference she attended. 

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Calif. voters to consider public records amendment

California voters will decide whether the public's right to inspect local government records should be enshrined in the state constitution after lawmakers voted to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot next June. If voters approve, local governments would have to follow the California Public Records Act and the state's open-meetings law but would not be reimbursed by the state for doing so. 

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Secret Huron (S.D.) superintendent agreement opened, read aloud

An agreement that remained secret for more than two years and sent thousands of dollars to an ex-superintendent was unsealed and read aloud at a Huron Board of Education meeting. The agreement reveals that the board and then-superintendent Ross Opsal agreed in March 2011 to part ways before the expiration of his contract. 

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Arkansas FOIA "Road Shows" held across the state

Arkansas has one of the strongest open meetings and open records laws in the country, yet Arkansans may not know all the mechanics or the applications of the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). That’s why the Attorney General’s Office and the Arkansas Press Association present FOIA “Road Shows” in locations across the state each year. 

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State FOIA Friday

See the latest State FOIA Friday for FOI and local open government news items selected selected for this weekly feature. Keywords from the issue of Friday, September 27, included the following: Florida public records, Illinois freedom of information act (FOIA), Iowa open government … Louisiana Public Records Act, Michigan Freedom of Information Act, New Jersey Open Public Records Act, New York open government, Ohio Public Records Act, Pennsylvania Right to Know law … Read more from the latest State FOIA Friday and be sure to check out our archives from Fridays past.



The National Freedom of Information Coalition protects our right to open government. We are a nonpartisan alliance of citizen-driven nonprofit freedom of information organizations, academic and First Amendment centers, journalistic societies and attorneys. Twice annually, NFOIC awards grants to strengthen state coalitions and member organizations, foster their growth, and support a broad range of open government endeavors in individual states. The NFOIC also administers the Knight FOI Fund, which offers financial support to defray costs and expenses in open government lawsuits throughout the year.

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