The NFOIC open government blog is a compendium of original concepts and analysis as well as ideas, edited excerpts and materials from a variety of sources. When the information comes from another source, we will attribute it and provide a link. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited; we will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

For Advocate posts prior to July, 2011, visit http://foiadvocate.blogspot.com/.
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November 2, 2017 5:37 PM

In response to an open government lawsuit, the City of Milpitas has released public documents that shed some additional light on former city manager Tom Williams’ alleged abusive conduct toward some department heads before his abrupt resignation. Read more...

November 1, 2017 11:17 AM

San Diego’s public-records process was made more public this week, as Mayor Kevin Faulconer overruled a city staff decision to withhold certain records of the process from U-T Watchdog. Read more...

November 1, 2017 10:46 AM

The American-Statesman has sued the city of Austin after officials denied requests under the Texas Public Information Act to disclose the identities of finalists for city manager.

The Statesman filed the suit Tuesday in a Travis County district court as the Austin City Council began the first of two days of interviewing finalists. The lawsuit seeks disclosure of the city manager candidates’ names. The Statesman has independently confirmed the identities of four of the candidates. Read more...

November 1, 2017 10:24 AM

A coalition of state worker unions was handed a court victory Oct 31 in a long-running feud with a conservative organization trying to notify public employees of how they can opt out of paying some union dues. Read more...

November 1, 2017 10:24 AM

A coalition of state worker unions was handed a court victory Oct 31 in a long-running feud with a conservative organization trying to notify public employees of how they can opt out of paying some union dues. Read more...

November 1, 2017 10:11 AM

An initiative begun under President Barack Obama that would require FOIA releases to be made broadly available appears to be languishing without further attention under the Trump administration, so a group of transparency organizations is pushing for action. Read more...

October 31, 2017 12:04 PM
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NEFAC REPORT | October 2017
Regional/National    CT    MA    ME    NH    RI    VT    File FOI Request     Subscribe     Archives
A coalition of First Amendment advocates today demanded increased press access to public demonstrations on the Boston Common and asked city officials to revise policies that excluded journalists from a controversial rally in August. With another rally scheduled on Nov. 18, the groups encouraged city officials to make "significant changes" to comply with the First Amendment while ensuring public safety. "We need to make sure that access is provided moving forward and journalists are allowed to do their job," said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. 
 
NEFAC, Media Groups Filed Amicus Brief in FOI Case
The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that access to public records on private email accounts is required under the state's law, calling such access "crucial to holding government actors accountable for their actions." The New England First Amendment Coalition praised the decision in Toensing v. Attorney General of Vermont as it prevents a possible loophole in the state's Access to Public Records Act and makes it more difficult for officials to act in secrecy.  
 
 
BLOG - JOSEPH W. MCQUAID
 
"It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write." Does that statement betray its speaker's ignorance of the First Amendment to the Constitution? Was it made with the intent of undermining one of America's most precious and important freedoms? Either way, when the President of the United States says it, it should be of great concern to every American, including those who have supported Donald Trump and forgiven him his bombast. [...] 
 
MAINE 
 
  
OCT. 16 LETTER
"Our chief concern is that the ordinance calls for information regulation and restriction in ways that are impermissible under the First Amendment," wrote Nashwa Gewaily, NEFAC's media and First Amendment attorney, in an Oct. 16 letter. "Courts have consistently struck down as violative of free speech and free press rights similar rules enacted by cities and towns across the country." Ordinance 2017.103 prohibits the delivery of unsolicited print or written materials to residences and public ways and imposes fines of up to $2500.  [...] 
 
BLOG - EDWARD FITZPATRICK
 
The First Amendment has become a political football. Conservatives pile on when liberals try to shut down conservative speakers on campus, and liberals lash out when President Trump calls for sacking those who take a knee during NFL national anthems or dare to call him a bigot.  So will Little Rhody come into play during this big national clash?   [...] 
 
NINTH CIRCUIT 
 
In Yamasaki, a lower federal court in California ruled that timely access to civil complaints was being provided because 89 percent of all complaints became public within eight business hours. With the case now on appeal, amici explained that while this may not initially appear to be a much of a delay, it could permit lengthy, unconstitutional delays. While New England is outside the Ninth Circuit, the questions addressed in this case are similar to those heard by local courts and demand the region's attention, said Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director. [...]
 
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Major Supporters and Contributors to the 
New England First Amendment Coalition this year include:
 
About NEFAC  |  Leadership  |  Major Supporters  |  Partnerships  |  Blog  |  Resources  |  Press  |  Donate
 
 
October 31, 2017 11:54 AM
The Georgia Supreme Court decreed Monday that a court rule allowing the public to access court records includes the right to copy those records.
 
But the justices nonetheless handed a defeat to the makers of a podcast hoping to copy a court reporter’s backup tapes from an old murder case, ruling they do not have any right to do so because the tapes in question were never filed with the court. Read more...
October 31, 2017 11:35 AM

The American military command in Afghanistan has decided to keep secret key figures related to the growth and progress of local security forces, redacting the numbers at the behest of Afghan officials from the latest report by the government’s watchdog for spending. Read more...

federal agencies
October 31, 2017 9:58 AM

 

Members of the Iowa board that governs public universities did not violate state law when they met privately with an applicant who they later hired as president of the University of Iowa, a Polk County district court judge ruled Oct 30. Read more...

iowa open meetings
October 30, 2017 12:35 PM

City of San Diego officials are refusing to release information about who is filing the hundreds of requests it receives each month on NextRequest, the city’s online records request portal, even though the information has previously been released. Read more...

October 30, 2017 12:00 PM

In Uxbridge, more than a third of the roughly 60 public records requests received by the town clerk in the past year have come from one requester.

In Hubbardston, a single requester has racked up 38 percent of the records requests.

Both towns petitioned the supervisor of records in the secretary of state’s office earlier this year to be relieved of the requirement to provide requested documents and videotapes. One of the updates to the state Public Records Law, which went into effect Jan. 1, allows for exceptions on the grounds that requests are frivolous or intended to harass or intimidate the agency or municipality.

The towns’ petitions arguing harassment were denied. Read more...

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