Judge: Missouri broke the law by concealing execution drug supplier

By Allison Wrabel Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem ruled that the Missouri Department of Corrections violated the Sunshine Law when it failed to reveal the name of the pharmacy that supplies the drugs for lethal injections. Under state law, the identities of individual execution team members are to be kept confidential. In 2013,…

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Finalists announced for 2015 Golden Padlock award

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI: Investigative Reporters and Editors is proud to announce the finalists for its 2015 Golden Padlock Award celebrating the most secretive government agency or individual in the United States. “There is a unique brand of courage displayed by public officials who deny, delay and circumvent the public’s right to know with a straight-faced sense of duty,”…

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Kansas AG: Private emails on public topics protected

Kansas’ attorney general said Tuesday that emails sent by state employees through private accounts aren’t public record, even when they deal with public business. Attorney General Derek Schmidt was responding to a question from state Sen. Anthony Hensley about whether such an email would constitute public record. Schmidt, who interpreted “private email” to be an…

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Federal agencies fail FOIA test conducted by Syracuse University

Card If you report on the government, it may not surprise you to read that only seven of the 21 federal agencies recently FOIAed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) have provided records more than two months after the requests went out. TRAC, a research center that administers the FOIA Project out of Syracuse…

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IRE nomination call for most secretive government agency or individual

Investigative Reporters and Editors is now welcoming nominations for its third annual Golden Padlock award recognizing the most secretive government agency in the United States. “Governments have elevated secrecy into a form of high art,” said Robert Cribb, chair of the Golden Padlock committee. “We seek to honor those who have excelled in the practice…

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OMB to release largest index of government data in the world

By Matt Rumsey, Sunlight Foundation On Feb. 6, the Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to the Sunlight Foundation explaining how it planned to comply with our FOIA request for Enterprise Data Inventories. These inventories are compiled by 24 federal agencies as part of President Barack Obama’s 2013 open data executive order. The…

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Senator puts hold on widely supported FOIA bill

A bill designed to improve the way the federal government handles an increasing load of FOIA requests – a bill that had gained bipartisan support – could be dying after a senator blocked the legislation. The FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 would “create a pathway for the federal government to modernize the administration of FOIA”…

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Ferguson no-fly zone aimed at media

The no-fly zone in place during August’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was enacted to keep the media from shooting overhead footage from helicopters, according to a report by the Associated Press. The AP got its hands on audio recordings of conversations between the Federal Aviation Administration and local police officials. In the recordings, local authorities…

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Judge blocks Alabama newspaper from printing information obtained through open records request

A state court judge has temporarily blocked the Montgomery Advertiser from publishing information about a utility company’s plan for gas line safety, information obtained through an open records request. Alagasco says the Distribution Integrity Management Plan, released to the newspaper by the Alabama Public Service Commission, contains proprietary and safety-related information that could jeopardize public…

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Do police have to release the name of the officer involved in the Ferguson, Mo. shooting?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Ferguson, Missouri police department’s decision not to release the name of the officer involved in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown. To get some legal answers, we turned to professor Sandy Davidson, who teaches communications law at the Missouri School of Journalism.  Here’s what you…

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