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 officials are largely complying with the law, residents don’t complain much and cases are typically minor and best left to corrective action rather than penalty.

But some state residents say another factor is in play — their complaints can fall on deaf ears.

Shedding light on public information: National push celebrates power of open-records laws | Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal

In 2013, 96 percent of open records requests made to local school districts were approved, according to a Poughkeepsie Journal analysis of area school data. One-third of these were for the Wappingers Central school district.

Some school district officials have seen the number of records requests decline. They attribute this decrease to the increasing availability of information online.

Your right to know | (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle

From domain name renewals to auto parts, lollipops for recreation program parties and everything in between, municipal check registers and credit card statements are the truest way to see exactly how government officials are spending your tax dollars.

There are payouts for salad fixings, pond liners, library books, rain pants, work boots, dental insurance, health insurance, office supplies — and that’s just a cursory snapshot of the spending habits of local municipalities as reviewed by the Democrat and Chronicle.

Unlocking public information: How Pocono municipalities fare | Pocono Record

How public is public information and how responsive are municipalities and agencies in the Poconos to requests for such material?

Depending on who is responding, the answer can range from getting the information right away to replies that can drag on for weeks, a Pocono Record audit found.