Texas House OKs bill spurred by Enrique Iglesias show
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A bill strengthening Texas open records laws after a border city refused to say how much it paid pop star Enrique Iglesisas for a concert has cleared a key hurdle in the...
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two years after the Arkansas Legislature scaled back the state's decades-old law protecting public access to government records, lawmakers are considering making even more...
Court strikes down key part of Texas’ open meetings law
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas' highest criminal court has struck down a key provision of the state's open meeting laws as "unconstitutionally vague."
Tennessee gov site to take input on bills awaiting signature
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has set up a website that will accept public comments on bills that have passed and are awaiting his decision.
Lee says the feature is part of a push for transparency and open government. He said it will bring more Tennesseans into the process more directly.
The website will be updated regularly with bills that have been passed by the Legislature.
Tennessee bill would allow public records requests bans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennesseans determined to be using public records requests as a form of harassment could be banned from filing them for one year under a new bill that would allow courts to punish people for making too many inquiries.
The move has alarmed open government advocates worried about the potentially chilling effects the bill might have, while also causing tension among supporters who feel queasy about limiting a person's right to public records.
Senate defeats dueling bills to open government
Public records bill could hike costs, limit access in state
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Proposed legislation that would increase fees charged for public records in New Mexico and potentially limit access in certain cases is being called a "terrible anti-transparency" action by an open government advocacy group.
Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, told the Roswell Daily Record that the main purpose of his proposed legislation is to allow public entities a way to recover the costs associated with fulfilling records requests.
Pelosi, Schumer respond to Trump speech on border security
Transcript of remarks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in response to President Donald Trump's address Tuesday on border security, as provided by Pelosi's office:
PELOSI: Good evening. I appreciate the opportunity to speak directly to the American people tonight about how we can end this shutdown and meet the needs of the American people.
The Latest: House Dems approve plan to re-open government
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the partial government shutdown (all times local):
House Democrats have approved a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump's promised border wall.
The largely party-line votes by the new Democratic majority came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room to pledge a continued fight for his signature campaign promise.
The Latest: House Dems unveil plan to re-open government
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. government shutdown (all times local):
House Democrats have unveiled a package of bills that would re-open the federal government without approving funding for President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico, establishing an early confrontation that will test the new power dynamic in Washington.
House Democrats unveil measure to re-open government
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats unveiled a package of bills Monday that would re-open the federal government without approving funding for President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico, establishing an early confrontation that will test the new power dynamic in Washington.
Tennessee gov-elect promises to overhaul public records law
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's newly elected governor says he wants to do a complete overhaul of the state's public records and open meeting laws as part of his commitment to making government more transparent.
Republican Bill Lee first revealed the promise on his transition website last week where he outlined his top priorities as governor, which also includes expanding vocational educational training and helping create more jobs for Tennesseans.
TBI says keeping records private ‘protects’ innocent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations says it's helping protect the innocent by not turning over documents to the public, a policy that's raised some eyebrows among state lawmakers and open government advocates.
Jimmy Musice, the bureau's senior policy adviser and attorney, fielded questions Thursday from a legislative panel analyzing Tennessee's open records laws.
Oregonian wins 2018 Natt Award
SEATTLE (AP) — The Oregonian/OregonLive is the winner of the 2018 Ted Natt First Amendment Award for its commitment to fighting for access to public records and the principles of open government.
2 Texas news organizations win Freedom of Information awards
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two news organizations have been honored for outstanding open government reporting in Texas.
The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas on Friday recognized the Austin American-Statesman and KBTX-TV of Bryan-College Station with Nancy Monson Spirit of FOI Awards. The awards were presented during the FOIFT state conference in Austin.
Washington task force on public records set to convene
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A public records task force created after Washington lawmakers attempted to exempt themselves from the state's Public Records Act is set to convene its first of four meetings.
Kansas cancels open government training for lack of interest
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State officials have cancelled training sessions on open government in Colby and Garden City due to lack of interest.
The Kansas attorney general's office says in a news release it determined too few people were interested in attending this week's training in western Kansas to justify the expense of providing them. Just eight people registered for the two sessions.
- The DayShame on New London for trying to hide blight recordsMarch 19, 2019
- The Beaumont EnterpriseTwo openness bills before Phelan panelMarch 19, 2019
- The Beaumont Enterpriseour view Texas needs AG, laws that promote openness for benefit of taxpayersMarch 17, 2019
- Albuquerque JournalEditorial: Protecting public information is protecting the publicMarch 15, 2019
- Black Hills PioneerReplacing ineffective criminal penalties from open meetings law would be more effectiveMarch 15, 2019
PR specialist to lead New Mexico open government group
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A public relations specialist who used to work as a journalist has been selected as the next executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Melanie Majors was recently selected to lead the advocacy group that pushes transparency in open government.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — One app promotes itself as a way to discuss sensitive negotiations and human resources problems without leaving a digital record.
Another boasts that disappearing messages "keep your message history tidy." And a popular email service recently launched a "confidential mode" allowing the content of messages to disappear after a set time.
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The new lawyer for the Iowa Public Information Board has resigned after a brief but rocky tenure, during which he angered open government advocates and faced questions about the accuracy of his resume.
Legal counsel Travis Starr is departing Tuesday after less than six months in his position, board director Margaret Johnson said.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An open government advocate says a South Carolina Supreme Court decision means the public won't have the right to know how $60 million in taxes are spent.
Justices ruled 4-1 on Wednesday the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce isn't a public body under the state Freedom of Information Act.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Knoxville News Sentinel are asking a judge to give the public access to all records in the state's lawsuit against the makers of the world's top-selling painkiller.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Pics or it didn't happen? Good luck with that on the public records trail.
From Mountain City to Memphis and Clarksville to Chattanooga, local government agencies follow conflicting, contradictory — and completely arbitrary — rules on whether residents can take cellphone pictures of the records they helped pay to create.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Though most cities, counties and school districts in Tennessee list in their policies contact information for who will handle public records requests, less than half included an email address to which the public can direct those requests.
That's one of the findings of an audit of government entities across the state by the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, which examined 259 policies between October and March.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Not all government public records policies are helping to make records more accessible to residents - especially for those who can't easily prove state residency - a new audit from the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government has found.
COLUMBIA, Tenn. (AP) — Sam Kennedy, an attorney, newspaper publisher and former Tennessee Press Association president who helped push for the state's Sunshine Law, has died at age 91.
An obituary from Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors said Kennedy died at his home in Columbia on Tuesday.
Hennepin County violated state open records laws by failing to comply promptly with a request for information on the sheriffs use of biometric technology, the state Supreme Court ruled in a case tracked by government watchdogs, law enforcement and the media.
Editorials from around Oregon
Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:
The Oregonian/OregonLive, April 4, on elected officials and employees using public email accounts for public business:
Bill would exempt private devices from open records law
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Government officials in Kentucky could discuss public business on their personal devices without having to disclose it, according to a surprise amendment moving quickly through the state legislature.
Michigan is the darkest state in the nation, and not just because of its seemingly endless, gray winter.
Our state requires the least amount of transparency and accountability of its executive and legislative branches.
A Wisconsin good-government group announced Wednesday that Baraboo News Republic reporter Tim Damos has won its award for media openness.
Transparency took a beating Friday as Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill to ensure secrecy for certain business dealings at Spaceport America and vetoed another bill meant to fix a loophole that open government advocates say allows untold thousands of dollars of lobbyist expenses to go unreported.
Editorial: Governor, citizens: Please stand up for open government
That’s the message from state lawmakers to the public last week when they made changes to the Public Records Act at break-neck speed. They weren’t speaking for We the People. They spoke for themselves.
Now it’s time for the people to speak up. There may still be time.
Bill to exempt certain judicial records from FOIA withdrawn
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A controversial bill that sought to exempt administrative records of the judiciary from Virginia's public records law has been withdrawn by its sponsor.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford, moved to strike his bill from the Senate floor Wednesday.
The bill said the Supreme Court's Office of the Executive Secretary would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
South Dakota Senate panel rejects open government measure
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A legislative panel has rejected a bill that would have made some government correspondence such as emails public records under South Dakota law.
The Argus Leader reports that Gov. Dennis Daugaard's office spearheaded the effort Wednesday to kill the legislation. A Senate panel voted 5-2 to reject it.
Bill would exempt trade secrets from FOIA
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Open government and environmental advocates are once again battling bills they say that would limit public-information access by creating a Freedom of Information Act exclusion for trade secrets.
HB 904 by Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, would create general exclusions from FOIA for trade secrets submitted to a public body. It passed its initial hearing in a House General Laws subcommittee Tuesday.
Ex-Boiler House at Pearl chef to open Government Hill restaurant, Eastside Kitchenette
Chef Jeff White has earned a legion of followers with his menu of over-the-top indulgences (think foie gras-topped burgers) at Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden. That chapter has come to a close, with White resigning his post earlier today.
AG: Austin must be transparent on city manager candidates
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Open government advocates are cheering an opinion by the Texas attorney general's office that Austin cannot withhold records showing who applied for city manager.
Austin officials had withheld the record by claiming the information would harm the city's competition among applicants.
Organization files lawsuit against Greitens over use of app
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An organization that advocates for open government is asking a judge to bar Gov. Eric Greitens and his staff from using an app that deletes messages after they're read, claiming that the secretive communication violates the state's public records laws and is "a significant affront" to democratic traditions.
Stamford reps to deliberate open government, traffic circles, voting stickers
STAMFORD — The just-elected Board of Representatives — with a youngest-ever president, a bevy of freshman members and a faction who ran as reformers — will set new courses when it gets to work next month.
Without specific notice to the public, a Sauk County committee last week approved a new policy that establishes how government employees can address complaints and report fraud.
New Mexico sheriff says body cam video unfair to officers
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The sheriff of New Mexico's most populous county will not require his deputies to use body cameras because he said the media would use the footage to unfairly criticize the officers.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales told KOAT-TV in a story Tuesday that the video "gives a lopsided, one-sided story, which I think is a disservice to the whole community."
Town officials cancel vote on town manager amid criticism
EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (AP) — Officials in a Rhode Island town have postponed a vote to reinstate a town manager whose appointment was voided by a judge.
The East Greenwich Town Council canceled its Tuesday night meeting after residents filled the room and open government advocates criticized it. The council president says the room was at capacity.
A Superior Court judge ruled last week that the process of appointing Gayle Corrigan as town manager in June violated the state's open meetings law.
Public report not created in Topeka man’s shooting by police
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — An advocate for open government contends the Topeka and Lawrence police departments are trying to bypass the state's open records laws by not creating a standard public document on the fatal shooting of a man by Topeka police officers more than a month ago.
Attorney General: Kentucky House violated Open Meetings Act
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky attorney general's office says the state House of Representatives violated the Open Meetings Act by holding a private meeting to discuss the state's pension systems.
The Bluegrass Institute Center for Open Government filed an open-meetings complaint in response to House members holding a closed-to-the-public meeting in August to discuss a state-funded analysis of the public retirement systems.
We were thrilled earlier this month to hear two of our candidates for governor — Democrat Billie Sutton and Republican Marty Jackley — say they would support more openness in South Dakota government.
Mohave County Board of Supervisors cleared of open meeting violation claim
The Arizona attorney general has determined that the process to fill the Mohave County Board of Supervisors’ District 5 seat did not violate open meeting laws.