Kansas appeals court says secretary of state violated open records law by altering computer system

By Sherman Smith, July 22, 2022, Kansas Reflector TOPEKA — Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab violated state open records law when he ordered a software vendor to disable the ability to produce a public record, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled on Friday.  The ruling is the latest victory for Davis Hammet, a voting […]

N.J.’s lag in public record disputes ‘undermines transparency,’ watchdog says

by Dana DiFilippo, July 26, 2022, New Jersey Monitor People fighting to get government records typically have to wait nearly two years for answers when they seek help from a state office created to give folks a fast, free alternative to suing for access, the Office of the State Comptroller found in a new report […]

Marsy’s Law Flaws Result in Secrecy

By the Editorial Board, Tampa Bay Times Published June 7, 2022 When Florida voters approved Marsy’s Law four years ago, the intention was to protect crime victims’ privacy and prevent them from being further victimized. But some law enforcement agencies have applied blanket secrecy in interpreting the law, leading to basic information about crime in […]

A Legal Guide to PRIVACY AND DATA SECURITY 2022

Primary Author: Michael R. Cohen and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) The State of Minnesota produced a comprehensive and useful report to help businesses understand and comply with the many privacy and data security laws.  While it is impossible for a business to become an expert in all of the laws […]

Transparency organizations raise concerns about Uniform Law Commission’s redaction initiative

Posted on June 17, 2022 by Sarah Brewerton-Palmer A letter from government transparency organizations urges the Uniform Law Commission to prioritize the public’s right to know when it studies the redaction of personal information from public records. The June 17 letter was written by Sarah Brewerton-Palmer, legislative chair of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, and […]

Iowa Requires Reasonable Efforts to Provide Records at No Cost and to Reduce Charges for Records

May 3, 2022 by O. Kay Henderson of Radio Iowa In Iowa, a new law sets new parameters for what government agencies and officials may charge for access to public records. Senator Waylon Brown of Osage said the bill sets a reasonable standard of what the custodians of public records are to charge for copies. It takes […]

When it comes to open government, sunshine dims in Florida

Pamela Marsh, executive director of the Tallahassee-based First Amendment Foundation, said the trajectory of transparency and freedom of the press is in “dramatic decline.” At a recent gathering of the Press Club of Southwest Florida, Marsh noted that the state legislature keeps adding more exemptions to Florida’s Sunshine Law. To date, there are now 1,138 exemptions to open government laws. […]

A Look Inside the Black Box of New York State’s Criminal Justice Data

New York criminal justice data in a ‘black box’ A report by a nonprofit that monitors criminal justice information calls out New York State’s mechanisms for data collection and release. Measures for Justice says efforts to put data to use across the state are frequently hampered by: Antiquated systems Inconsistent practices Complicated and expensive request processes A degree […]

RCFP, PNA letter to Pennsylvania Supreme Court highlights barriers to accessing court records

Reporters Committee May 24 2022 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press   A coalition of organizations led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association is urging the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to ensure consistent and meaningful public access to judicial records throughout the Commonwealth.  In […]

Measure to increase access to public documents approved by State Assembly

Elizabeth Larson May 24 2022 Lake County News   Amidst continuing failures by the Department of Insurance to maintain public access to government records, the California State Assembly on Monday approved AB 2370 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County), which will restore transparency to a state agency plagued by scandal.  The bill was approved on a vote […]

The case for placing AI at the heart of digitally robust financial regulation

Jo Ann Barefoot May 24 2022 Brookings Institution   Data is the new oil.” Originally coined in 2006 by the British mathematician Clive Humby, this phrase is arguably more apt today than it was then, as smartphones rival automobiles for relevance and the technology giants know more about us than we would like to admit. Just […]

State board asked to block agencies from destroying public records

Clark Kauffman March 26 2022 Iowa Capital Dispatch   The head of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council says steps should be taken to ensure that public documents requested by the press and public aren’t then destroyed by government agencies.  Randy Evans, the council’s executive director, has written to the Iowa Public Information Board about the […]

A mother’s quest for openness provides map for spurring change

Mike Sherry The Kansas Leadership Center Journal March 2022 When Shelia Albers couldn’t get answers to the questions she had after her 17-year-old son was shot and killed by an Overland Park police officer while the teen was in the midst of a mental health crisis, she didn’t give up. Instead, she kept pushing, using […]

ACLU, NAACP sue over South Carolina ban on ‘scraping’ court records

Nate Raymond Reuters, March 30 2022 (Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the South Carolina judiciary’s ban on the “scraping” or automated collection of data from publicly accessible online repositories of filings in the state’s courts.  In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Columbia, […]

New Jersey Supreme Court affirms public right to access records on law enforcement misconduct

Doris Zhang   In back-to-back victories for government transparency and accountability, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued unanimous decisions in March ordering the disclosure of records concerning law enforcement misconduct.  In both cases, the state Supreme Court referenced arguments the Reporters Committee made in friend-of-the-court briefs urging the court to make the records public.  The two […]

From the editor: Cost for a copy of a public record in Iowa? Let’s start with free

Carol Hunter Des Moines Register May 8 2022 Advocates for Iowans’ right to know have won a rare legislative victory with passage of a bill specifying that copies of many public records should be free other than for copying costs if they can be provided in less than 30 minutes, and when fees are charged, […]

Texas Legislature considering bill to make it harder to get public information about government employees

Anna Canizales – Texas Tribune – April 20 2021 Lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict state agencies from sharing salary data and other typically public information about government employees with the public in a bill that experts say is overly broad. Senate Bill 16, filed by state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, would require […]