Open records

Wisconsin city must release officer's personnel file

Kirk Davis | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | September 14, 2009
September 14, 2009

A Wisconsin city must release the complete personnel file of a local police officer convicted of drunk driving in a settlement reached with the Herald Times Reporter.

Obama only slightly more open than Bush thus far

Freedom of Information | Feature | September 9, 2009
September 9, 2009

The Obama Administration’s approach to transparency in government is, thus far, only a slight improvement over the Bush Administration’s policies, reports in its annual Secrecy Report Card.

NCAA documents public, Florida court rules

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 21, 2009
August 21, 2009

The NCAA was dealt a blow in Florida court Thursday when a judge ruled that records concerning athletes at Florida State University must be released.

The Orlando Sentinel reported the documents were part of a case involving more than 60 student-athletes who had cheated, and about which FSU officials met with National College Athletics Association officials.

Illinois governor signs FOI bill after long wait

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 17, 2009
August 17, 2009

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill today overhauling the state’s freedom of information law.

The legislation has been sitting on Quinn’s desk for several months since squeaking out of the last legislative session at its very end.

Michigan court says police union cannot circumvent state FOI law

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 14, 2009
August 14, 2009

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled recently that a Detroit police officers union could not contract around the state’s open records laws in an employment contract.

Using the state's open records law, the Detroit Free Press had sought a photograph of a police officer that had been suspended after allegations he was taking department money from an anti-car theft program. The police officer's union filed a lawsuit trying to stop the release of the photo.

Police chief's arrest underscores agencies' aversion to transparency

Kathleen Cullinan | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 6, 2009
August 6, 2009

The chief of police in Alexandria, Va., was arrested last month on a DUI charge in neighboring Arlington County. A local event, but as the Alexandria Gazette Packet reports, the fallout points to a statewide and even national concern: What's to be done when police agencies hide even basic evidence of their work from public scrutiny?

New North Myrtle Beach policy boosts fees for records access

Caitlin Dickson | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | July 17, 2009
July 17, 2009

The North Myrtle Beach, S.C. city council approved a new policy last week ramping up the charges for public records, in a bid to keep citizens from requesting information "just to have it," the Palmetto Scoop reports.

State employees' names are public, Wisconsin court says

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Feature | July 15, 2009
July 15, 2009

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled today that the names of public employees must be released as public records, despite a union agreement to the contrary.

The decision came in a case centering around two records requests: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had sought the names of employees who lost the privilege of driving state-owned vehicles because of a poor driving record, while the Lakeland Times wanted the names of Department of Natural Resources employees.

Rhode Island moves to withhold police shooters' names

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Reaction | June 10, 2009
June 10, 2009

The Rhode Island legislature is considering a bill that would block release of the names of police officers who are involved in shootings until after investigations are complete.

Posting of Social Security numbers upheld, mostly

Kathleen Cullinan | Freedom of Information | Feature | June 4, 2009
June 4, 2009

A Virginia woman can continue posting public officials' Social Security numbers on her Web site, in her protest against what she sees as lax personal privacy standards for public records, but she may not publish the Social Security numbers of private citizens, a federal judge ruled this week.