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It’s government’s duty to supply information without delay, Texas coalition leader says

“If you work in government, here’s something to remember: You work for the people,” writes Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “It’s your job to ensure citizens can interact with their government and have the information they need to hold it accountable. That includes handing over public records when…

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NFOIC joins amicus brief supporting release of police internal affairs records in New Jersey

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. In July 2019, a retired New Jersey police officer submitted a New Jersey Open Public Records Act request seeking access to police internal…

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Having police body-worn cameras is one thing; releasing footage another, Wisconsin station says

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, police began using body-worn cameras in 2015, but the public’s access to footage is limited in the state, according to WTMJ-TV. “We’re at the second phase of the battle,” said Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, who represents the family of Joel Acevedo, who died after an off-duty police officer allegedly held him in a chokehold….

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What fills the void when public information is concealed? Maybe conspiracy theories

For more than a year, Craig Mauger, a state government reporter for The Detroit News, has been waiting on a request for State of Michigan documents related to nursing homes during the pandemic. He told WDET he’s also waiting on documents related to a sudden change in leadership at the Michigan Department of Health and…

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Frosty Landon, NFOIC Hall of Famer, remembered for ‘heroic’ efforts to promote open government, establish state coalitions

Frosty Landon, a one-time president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition board who was instrumental in advising new NFOIC coalitions in the 2000s, is being remembered as a hero and advocate for open government. Landon died July 19, 2021, at age 87. Landon, longtime editor of the Roanoke Times & World-News in Virginia, was…

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NFOIC Board approves budget, extends staff positions, looks for sustainable long-term model

The National Freedom of Information Board of Directors on July 16 voted to approve its FY2021-22 budget, including the extension of the outreach coordinator position to June 30, 2022. The NFOIC will dip into reserves to extend the outreach coordinator position, which would have ended Nov. 30, 2021, with the end of a grant that…

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NFOIC supports Puerto Rico coalition in brief calling for financial board transparency

The National Freedom of Information Coalition’s Puerto Rico affiliate, Espacios Abiertos, filed an amici brief in a public records appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.  In solidarity with Espacios Abiertos, the NFOIC, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and the Nevada Open Government Coalition also signed the brief.  The…

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Study examines: Does a state constitutional right to know make a difference?

State constitutional rights guaranteeing access to information can’t hurt, and may help, when judges balance the interests of disclosure and privacy.  But there’s little evidence that a constitutional right to access produces better results directly for requesters. That’s, in part, because many variables influence the outcome of a request, particularly the state’s political culture.  Those…

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Knight FOI Fund provides ‘meaningful vote of support’ to California man seeking Marine emails

By Todd FettigNFOIC outreach coordinator For six years, Dennis Buckovetz worked alone, from the back bedroom of his house, uncovering the details of possible wrongdoing at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego.  Buckovetz, who served in the Vietnam War as a Marine, was working as administrative director of Marine Corps Community Services at…

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Texas city violates Open Meetings Act in session to teach … Open Meetings Act

An Odessa, Texas, “workshop” on the state’s Open Meetings Act was itself a violation of the Open Meetings Act, experts said. Alan J. Bojorquez, an Austin-based attorney who lead the workshop, said the meeting was exempt because it was for informational purposes, the Odessa American reported. Bojorquez also claimed it was a private meeting because…

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