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NFOIC seeks administrative support, invites applications from member coalitions

The National Freedom of Information Coalition Board of Directors voted Sept. 28, 2021, to invite applications from member coalitions interested in entering a contract to provide NFOIC administrative support services. Under a three-year contract, the NFOIC would provide $10,000 annually to the supporting coalition, starting July 1, 2022, in exchange for administrative duties that would…

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Government secrecy should not be legacy of mass shooting, California coalition argues

California’s First Amendment Coalition, joined by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the California News Publishers Association, filed an amicus brief urging an appeals court to overturn a lower court’s ruling that kept death records secret after a 2018 mass shooting. Journalists covering the Borderline Bar & Grill massacre have been denied…

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What’s required to unlock records? Often it’s opening a checkbook and hitting the open road

While much of the world runs on digital transactions, it takes an actual paper checkbook and a lot of travel to unlock open records in many small agencies and police departments. A Michigan editor, who is leading a reporting project into police responses at a music festival at which four people died, found herself driving…

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Four state heroes to be inducted into NFOIC’s Open Government Hall of Fame

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA, Sept. 16, 2021 — Four “Heroes of the 50 States,” representing Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, will be inducted Sept. 30 into the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s State Open Government Hall of Fame, as the Class of 2021. The inductees have backgrounds in law, journalism, and academia.  The 2021 inductees are: The…

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Founder of Wisconsin group saw FOI as ‘a guarantee for the rights of people’

Robert H. (Bob) Wills, longtime editor of the Milwaukee Sentinel and founder of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, died July 22, 2021, in Madison, Wisconsin, at age 95, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  “The role of the media is that of watchdog of government for the public. It follows that the guarantee of…

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New York coalition insists on more transparency regarding Buffalo Bills football stadium plans

The New York Coalition For Open Government is demanding more transparency about negotiations to build a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. The New York coalition is urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to release a study regarding the need and cost of a new stadium, and to provide opportunities for public…

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Letter to Supreme Court: Make live audio streaming permanent, accessible

The National Freedom of Information Coalition and 75 other organizations signed a letter urging Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court to permanently provide live audio access to oral arguments. “Providing live audio access to cases during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has convincingly demonstrated the public’s appetite to observe the operations of the Court,” reads…

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Winners of research competition to present findings at 2021 FOI Summit

Five research papers have been accepted to the third annual National Freedom of Information Coalition FOI research competition, to be presented online Sept. 28, 2021, at the FOI Summit. In all, seven one-page proposals were entered and five selected through double-blind peer review for final consideration. Then, a team of eight expert judges rated the…

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Letter, signed by NFOIC, urges New York governor to publish COVID data

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. “Publishing COVID data in a tabular, downloadable, machine-readable format would help restore trust in state government and help researchers, journalists and the public to better understand the dire…

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Wisconsin court’s ruling strengthens fee-recovery provisions for requesters, attorney says

A recent Wisconsin court of appeals decision should be seen as good news because it strengthens the state’s fee recovery provision and puts records requesters in a stronger position. That’s the opinion of Christa Westerberg, vice president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, a member of the National Freedom of Information Coalition. The appeals…

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