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News Leaders Association honors First Amendment Award winners for advancing Freedom of Information principles

Journalists uncovered decades of New York police disciplinary records, detailed a university’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, and investigated deaths inside detention facilities. Their efforts have been recognized by the News Leaders Association, which announced its 2021 First Amendment Award recipients on May 12, 2021. The awards recognize “the best journalism advancing Freedom of Information…

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Rules on releasing police body camera footage vary; nine states are most restrictive, The Hill says

Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming have the most restrictive laws regarding the disclosure of police body camera recordings. That’s according to a May 10, 2021, article in The Hill. “With no federal requirements on releasing police videos, states often differ in their approach to making the footage publicly…

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NFOIC supports New York coalition’s effort to mandate the posting of public meeting minutes

The National Freedom of Information Coalition has endorsed a letter written by the New York Coalition for Open Government, urging the state to mandate that minutes of public meetings be posted online within two weeks of a meeting. “It is important to have a written record of who attended a meeting; what motions were made…

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In partnership with Uncovered, NFOIC provides public records training to cold-case solvers

The National Freedom of Information Coalition conducted a three-part “Public Records Bootcamp” training program in partnership with Uncovered: A Cold Case Platform. The Bootcamp, conducted three Thursday evenings in April 2021, each engaged more than 40 participants interested in using public records to help solve cold cases. “Working with NFOIC to provide this level of…

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Loophole allows Wisconsin legislators to destroy emails; ‘Obviously it’s troubling,’ FOI council leader says

Unlike other public officials in Wisconsin, state legislators can destroy documents to avoid records requests, according to a report by the Racine County Eye. State legislators must comply with the state’s Open Records Law — if they have the requested documents in their possession. There’s nothing preventing them from destroying documents, and one state representative…

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Far from perfect, but ‘better than nothing,’ says Michigan coalition director of bill touted as a transparency measure

Unlike lawmakers in most states, Michigan legislators aren’t required to disclose their financial interests. A bipartisan bill would change that — kind of. The bill would require lawmakers to disclose their financial information to a legislative committee, which would be exempt from the state’s Open Meetings and Freedom of Information acts. Only if the committee…

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Ensuring open meetings and enhancing police transparency top coalitions’ policy priorities

The National Freedom of Information Coalition, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, surveyed and questioned its state and local affiliates in the Winter and Spring of 2021 to obtain each affiliate’s top policy priorities and top perceived threats to transparency. The NFOIC released some results of its online survey in its “States of Denial” report,…

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In spite of law, Maine police conceal officer discipline records, newspapers report

In Maine, police officer discipline records are public documents. But law enforcement agencies often evade transparency. That’s according to a joint investigation by the Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald, with funding from the Pulitzer Center. Among the findings: It was impossible to tell from available records why most of the 19 state police…

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