Tags : FOIA

Virginia Supreme Court: FOIA does not cover faculty emails, unpublished research

Faculty emails and unpublished university research can be deemed “proprietary” and withheld under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, the Virginia Supreme Court announced last week.

The law was called into question in 2011 when the American Tradition Institute and Virginia Del. Robert Marshall filed a request for emails of Michael Mann, a prominent climate scientist and former University of Virginia professor.

According to the Washington Post:

Lawyers for U-Va. turned over about 1,000 documents to Marshall and ATI, led by former EPA attorney David Schnare, but withheld another 12,000 papers and e-mails, saying that work “of a ...

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Inside the IRE Awards: The Prescribers

This week on IRE Radio we’ll be taking you inside the 2013 IRE Awards with audio from some of the reporters, editors and producers who worked on prize-winning stories. View the complete list of winners here.

The Prescribers

ProPublica reporters Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber, Jennifer LaFleur and others were able to get Medicare Part D data released for the first time. Hear how to use their tools, the FOI process, and an example of a story they found.

Ornstein and LaFleur introduce the database and go over some basics on it's use. The Prescriber Checkup tool is available ...

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IRE nomination call for most secretive government agency or individual

The Golden Padlock Award. Photo: Travis Hartman

Investigative Reporters and Editors is now welcoming nominations for its second annual Golden Padlock award recognizing the most secretive government agency in the United States.

“This award acknowledges government officials across the country who excel in the art of suppressing public information,” said David Cay Johnston, president of IRE. “Undermining the public’s right to know can be tireless work. We seek out the very best to be broadly recognized with this honor.”

Nominations should be emailed to goldenpadlock@ire.org including the name of the government department or individual along with reasons ...

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Sunshine Week audio playlist, tipsheets and more

All week long we've been celebrating Sunshine Week by sharing some of our best tips, tricks and techniques for filing successful Freedom of Information Act requests.

Deborah Nelson, Kirsten Mitchell, Mike Ravnitzky and Kate Willson talked about the importance of using documents and offered ideas for beefing up your records requests.

The crew from FOIA Machine talked about how you can use the tool to streamline your FOIA requests.

We've compiled all of their clips (each under five minutes) in a Soundcloud playlist.

 

 

Looking for more FOIA resources?

Check out our FOIA Story Pack: Get an in-depth ...

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Sunshine Week: A look at what's coming up in freedom of information legislation

In many states, recent or pending legislation could impact the transparency of public information. Though several states are taking strides to make public records more open and accessible, a few seem to be adding obstacles to obtaining public information. Here's a breakdown of what's happened in recent months and what could be on the horizon.

AlabamaSB 191, which passed the Senate in February and is pending in the House, would amend the Open Meetings Act. The bill is chiefly concerned with regulating “serial meetings.” These meetings are used to deliberate an issue, but require no quorum or ...

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Sunshine Week coverage of open government violations, FOI laws and more

To celebrate Sunshine Week we'll be sharing exclusive audio, tipsheets and reporting on FOIA battles and open government. Newspapers across the country kicked off the week with stories analyzing FOIA responses and violations. Here's a look at some of the coverage:

 

Few cited for open government violations | Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team

Public officials in Wisconsin can be fined hundreds of dollars for violating open government laws, but only seven citations have been imposed in the past five years for open meetings violations, and none for public records cases,court records show.

Prosecutors say this is because public ...

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Using new nonprofit law center, Hawaii’s Civil Beat wins access to police misconduct records

In the flood of paperwork that made its way each year to the Hawaii legislature, a shocking statistic slipped under the radar: About once a week the Honolulu Police Department was suspending or firing an officer for misconduct.

Often the offenses were serious – abusing suspects, lying to federal investigators, tipping off drug dealers. And for nearly two decades the information was kept quiet. Legislators paid little attention to the annual reports. Officers who resigned or got suspended for misconduct were shielded by a political loophole in the state’s public records law. Paperwork documenting the wrongdoing was often destroyed.

Civil ...

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NYPD denies FOIA request for department FOIA guide

The New York Police Department’s Freedom of Information Law Unit is refusing to release its FOIL guide. Yes, you read that right.

Public records request service MuckRock asked for the document in late December. Last week a lieutenant in the department’s records unit denied the request, calling the guide “privileged as an attorney-client communication.”

You can be sure MuckRock is appealing the decision.