Transparency News

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06 December 2019

Washington State
JLARC Preliminary Report: Review of Public Records Training, Consultation, and Grant Programs  
Editorial: ‘Title-only bills’ do end-run around transparency
Court of Appeals rules Child Advocacy Center not subject to the PRA
Wapato ready to bring back former city clerk-treasurer

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
School District faces lawsuit after denying open records requests to anonymous requestor – WI
Trump loses appeals court fight over his financial records – USA
CA Supreme Court strikes down State Law requiring public disclosure of President tax returns – CA
Hospital groups sue to block price-transparency rule – USA

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
Proposed Law Would Bar Public Disclosure of Lawmakers’ Personal Information – FL
For Texas, the new year will bring stronger contract transparency – TX 
Experts: Ohio law on HIV status disclosure hurts public health – OH
Bills would stop Michigan hunters from using state records to find game – MI  
Partly Sunny: Public agencies exploit loophole in new Kentucky open records law – KY

Transparency and Open Government
NFOIC National Open Government Survey is open
Ohio auditor creates ratings for openness – OH
PG&E withheld information about medically at-risk customers ahead of major power shutoff – CA
Copyright questions sidetrack effort to open Utah’s secret jail standards – UT
For families of those killed by deputies, a long wait for answers – CA
California Legislature Won’t Disclose Latest Sexual Harassment Complaint Data – CA
Gender Pay Gap: Addressing It Through Transparency
Arizona government lacks transparency, report finds – AZ
As White House stonewalls on Ukraine docs, wave of FOIA suits seek to pry them loose – USA
Who made the new drapes? It’s among high court’s mysteries – USA
San Jose police say it will take nearly 5 years to provide all records required under transparency law – CA

Privacy, Security, and Technology
DNA geneological databases a gold mine for police, with few rules and little transparency
California AG seeks public comment at public hearings on California Consumer Privacy Act – CA
Opinion: Enhancing protections for sensitive information in congressional investigations – USA
School District spent $13,800 on data breach investigation, but won’t make findings public – NJ

Records Management and Archives
SAA Resource: Creating Family Archives

22, November 2019

Washington State
Editorial: End the ICE secrecy in Longview 
Public records show Seattle Children’s told health officials about prior mold infections in 2018 
State lawmakers often rush major legislation. Big banks are suing to stop that
Emails reveal city’s tumultuous handling of new regional 911 dispatch center  
Washington cops are taking a cue from ‘Fight Club’ for a secret facial recognition group

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
City clerk ordered to pay $42K for refusing records request – MO
School district’s refusal to grant anonymous requests for records prompts transparency lawsuit – WI
Police cases to test Right-to-Know Law before NH Supreme Court – NH
India Supreme Court rules on disclosure of judges’ assets and transparency – Int’l (India)
Trump asks Supreme Court to bar release of his tax returns – USA
State to fight judge on decision requiring release of investor names – KY

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
EPA, progressives clash over transparency rule – USA
Trump Administration releases transparency rule in hospital pricing – USA 
Amid federal corruption investigation, State lawmakers propose new disclosures for lobbyists – IL

Transparency and Open Government
ACLU: Whistleblowers are public servants. We must protect them – USA
AG: Pawtucket violated open records law by withholding police officers’ hometowns – RI
Federation of American Scientists: Transparency vs. Good Government
Leak investigation exposes inspector general’s selective public disclosure – NY
Capitol Watch: Commissions make law behind closed doors – NY 
Councilman provided inaccurate response about Facebook account in response to records request – NJ
As Portland resets conversation on civic engagement, public asks for transparency – OR 
Make it public: Advocate presses for release of NYPD body cam footage – NY

Privacy, Security, and Technology
Nunavut returns to paper records and phone calls following ransomware attack – Int’l (Canada)
State Auditor: Self-deleting apps have no place in government – MO
Failure to Encrypt Mobile Devices Leads to $3 Million HIPAA Settlement – USA

11, November 2019

Washington State

Sunshine Committee 2019 Annual Report now available
Public Records Training, Consultation, and Grants preliminary report on Dec. 4 JLARC agenda
Researcher: ICE’s block on Cowlitz records “antithetical to democracy”
National Law Review: Disclosure of State employees’ birthdates not protected per WA Supreme Court

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
Courts back open records in several Sunshine Law decisions – MO
Judge: University of Missouri violated Sunshine Law with high fee estimate – MO
Feds sued over lack of transparency about facial recognition – USA
Disability status for CalPERS retirees must remain private, court rules – CA
Salem police, union, Municipal Assoc. fight to keep unredacted audit secret – NH

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
Stewards of Maryland’s public records law seek greater authority to adjudicate disputes – MD
Senator moves to protect privacy rights of gun owners – NY

Transparency and Open Government
Agency perspectives on online public records request portals
Amid attacks, press faces challenges to get public records to inform reports
Another batch of ‘bad cops’ made public by Brooklyn DA – NY
Million ‘deleted’ immigration court records spark spat between university, government agency – USA
Governor’s office won’t release emails even though governor says public should see them – WI  
AG: Amend, not repeal public official disclosure law – Int’l (Mariana Islands)
Two City Commissioners’ emails no longer available online – FL
An eye-opening public records request for a former Charlotte City Council member – NC
Chicago routinely withholds records that should be public, but courts can force their hand – IL

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
School demands illegal payment for public records – NC

Privacy, Security, and Technology
New HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool from Office of Civil Rights – USA  
Condo buyers can keep purchases secret, NY tax officials say in reversal – NY

Records Management and Archives
Report: Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping
ARMA & NetGovern launch definitive benchmarking of Information Governance Programs

8, November 2019

Washington State
Washington State Supreme Court rules that access to public records is not a vested right
Intense reactions to release of graphic video of a violent Spokane police arrest

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
NYPD sued over access to Trump family gun records – NY
Fight over lethal injection records goes to Supreme Court – NE

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
NYPD’s new body camera policy does opposite of what it’s supposed to, advocates say – NY
Legislators propose ombudsman definitions, public records amendments – WY
Editorial: State’s most powerful Democrats want to conduct public business in private – CT
Opinion: New law requires police transparency. Now DAs must do their part – CA

Transparency and Open Government
Legislators won’t say who applied to lead transparency office – OK
Author of transparency law tells DAs to obtain their own misconduct records on cops who testify – CA
CU regents referred to multiple finalists in presidential search in emails – CO 
Dept of Interior Is Losing the Battle to Crack Down on FOIA – USA
DOJ issues new guidance for confidential information under Supreme Court FOIA decision – USA

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
Douglas County district attorney refuses to waive $2,000 fee for travel receipt records – OR
Nickled and Dimed: Fees can put federal court records beyond the public’s reach – USA

Privacy, Security, and Technology
US Agencies sued over secretive use of ‘Dystopian Surveillance Technology’ – USA
Air Force finally retires 8-inch floppies from missile launch control system – USA

1, November 2019

Washington State
Washington Supreme Court says state employee birth dates are public record
Lewis County Public Records Department Fulfilled 814 Requests So Far in 2019
Opinion: Birth-dates ruling is a public-records victory
Washington state isn’t transparent about student arrests. Federal law says it’s supposed to be

Outside Washington State

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
This bill would stop lawsuits targeting taxpayers seeking public records – FL

Transparency and Open Government
Hundreds learn about Idaho’s open meetings, public records laws – ID
Emails from 600 Colorado state employees are slated to vanish from public record – CO
Senate Democrats submit FOIA request for Ukraine, Biden info – USA
EPA Contradicts Its Own Statements on FOIA Rule – USA




25 October 2019

Washington State
Transparency topic ignites SnoValley Chamber forum
Wapato mayor denies she refused to sign document related to investigation

Outside Washington State

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
Governor vetoes measure requiring local governments to preserve emails for 2 years – CA
Wisconsin Legislature says you can’t see secret records about lawmaker behavior – WI
Department of Justice issues new guidance on FOIA exemption (commercial info) – USA

Transparency and Open Government
County Auditor arrested, accused of breaking open records law – SD
Unshredded records dumped in a town centre to weigh down scaffolding at art festival – Int’l (UK)
Electric company PG&E to pay $65M over claims it falsified records – CA
Wyoming’s first public records ombudsman aims to boost transparency – WY
CIS finds new success with its own end-to-end FOIA tracking system – USA
Now bound to paper, lawmaker financial disclosures could go digital for 2020 – NH

Privacy, Security, and Technology
Can a school board member use student records to send campaign messages? – KY
New County Sheriff slashes transparency with encrypted radio transmissions – MN
Infographic: What Your Devices Know About You
Maybe shadow IT isn’t so bad after all, study suggests

Archives, Records Management, Information Governance
Archivists and Records Managers: Quotable quotes


11 October 2019 and
18 October 2019

Washington State
October is Archives Month in Washington (State Archives Newsletter)
Snohomish County prevails in state Supreme Court public records case
Sunshine Committee Meeting Topics: Legislative Session, Juvenile Records Exemptions – Oct. 22, 2019
MRSC: Updated Public Records Act FAQ page

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
Court strikes down NY law to disclose donors to nonprofits – NY
Congress can seek Trump’s financial records, appeals court rules – USA
County Sheriff must pay over $100K in legal fees in fight to withhold deputy discipline records – CA
Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Judges must make candidate information public – PA

Laws, Legislation, and Policy
Atlanta unveils new policy to improve compliance with open records law – GA
Report: Colorado public record laws ‘do not provide meaningful guidance’ for email retention – CO
Marsy’s Law vs. Florida’s Public Records Law: Are They Compatible? – FL
Bill calls for public disclosure of spending at businesses owned by a president – USA
Task force will recommend data privacy updates – WI
Conflicting standards for disclosure of DV records under OPRA – NJ
Environment department illegally withholds thousands of FOI pages – Int’l (Australia)

Transparency and Open Government
Harris County Commissioners Court: The Pros and cons of total transparency – TX
Does a photograph count as a ‘copy’? Inside Vermont’s debate over public records – VT
How price transparency would revolutionize healthcare – USA
D.C. debates whether charter schools’ records should be public – DC
Canada’s decision to make public more clinical trial data puts pressure on FDA
Maryland agencies lack consistent policies, struggle to comply with public records requests – MD

Privacy, Security, and Technology
Price Tag for CA Consumer Privacy Act Compliance: $55B – CA
Scooter companies want their San Antonio proposals kept secret – TX
Is personnel too personal? State law shields personnel matters, saying they’re private – NH
Covering immigration in a private contractor’s world – USA
New tool to help federal agencies complete annual FOIA reports – USA
Data-privacy compliance timeline is ‘yesterday,’ leading tech lawyer says

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
Outgoing Public Records Advocate: Oregon’s fees on public records requests too high – OR
Town test new law curbing “Vexatious” Freedom of Information Requests – CT
Judges Turn Up Heat on Feds Over Stalled Records Requests – USA


4 October 2019

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
City reacts to ruling permitting FOIA on conversations between public officials and private citizens – MI
Journalists File Lawsuit To Force Feds To Release Medicare Advantage Audits – USA
Patriots owner sues State Attorney for records in prostitution case – FL
Boulder newspaper sues CU regents over presidential search transparency – CO

Transparency and Open Government
House Judiciary Committee hears testimony on public access to federal courts – USA
Oregon Legislature expands public records exemptions as committee tries to limit them – OR
Push to make public records advocate independent – OR
State council endorses reforms for public records advocate position – OR
San Diego decides city staff directory won’t be released as a public record – CA
Vermont’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Control Access to Their ‘Public’ Records – VT
Anaheim Won’t Release Stadium Appraisal Until ‘Right Time’ – CA
Governor names state’s first public records ombudsman – WY

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
State-level groups urge city to reconsider public record fees – KS

Archives, Records Management
October is American Archives Month
Electronic Records Day is October 10, 2019
Research: What Colorado needs to do to preserve the modern public record – CO
Society of American Archives: Archives-RM Testimonials


27 September 2019

Washington State
Local Records Committee to review County Clerks & Superior Court Records Schedules – Oct. 2, 2019
Ocean Beach School District faces public records lawsuit

Outside Washington State

In the Courts
Idaho execution records appeal may be considered next year – ID
Judge rules Improvement District must hand over documents for free – NV
Federal judge blocks California law to force disclosure of Trump’s tax returns – USA

Transparency and Open Government
Editorial: Regaining credibility will take more than words from governor – OR
State Audit: Civil Rights Commission not transparent or accountable in decisions – CO
Interior Political Appointees Are Part Of Ongoing FOIA Probe, Agency Confirms – USA
Forums tackle gov’t transparency, media challenges – Int’l (Philippines)
Declassified, but not public. Miami judge asked to release key 9/11 name – FL
Editorial: Police, prosecutors and courts keeping criminal justice data a secret – CA

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
High fees for public records can keep you in the dark, advocates say – OR
Records requests expenses cost Bowling Green City Schools – OH

Privacy, Security, and Tech
eDiscovery: Court grants spoliation sanctions for failure to preserve cell phone photos
Written signatures under threat as law commission backs electronic versions – Int’l (UK)
Right to be Forgotten: One brother stabbed the other. Journalist who wrote about it paid a price – Int’l

Archives, Records Management
Historians push to create public archive of documents from massive opioid litigation


20 September 2019

Washington State
Poster: Celebrate Washington’s Heritage – Archives Month is October 2019
Editorial: Public deserves access to behavioral hospitals’ reports
Editorial: State Supreme Court makes right call in public-records case for union organizing emails
Editorial: Never forget, lawmakers, that you work for us
In close vote, Snoqualmie City Council suspends video of public comment portion of meetings
Training: Basics of Archives (Reboot)

Outside Washington State

Laws, Legislation, Policy
Silicon Valley lawmaker authors bill to strengthen public records act – CA

In the Courts
AG’s open-records lawsuit against County Exec appears headed toward resolution – MO
Should foundations established by public universities be allowed to keep donor records secret? – VA
Court affirms that prison settlements are public records – NM
Group says prison system’s care provider should be subject to public records act – VT
Supreme Court decides public inspections of bodycam footage should be free – VT

Transparency and Open Government
Resignation of Oregon public records advocate stirs doubts – OR
Oregon public records council pushes for independence – OR
Despite concerns about public-records disclosures, City moves ahead with new police contract – CA
FOI Commission compels city of Middletown to release some records to mayor – CT
County’s two largest law enforcement agencies respond differently to police transparency bill – CA

Fees, Costs, Burdensome Requests
Supreme Court rejects fee for public records access – VT

Privacy, Security, and Tech
Police body cameras capture so much footage it’s driving some defense attorneys to quit – VA
Should Nonprofits Be Required To Publicly Disclose Their Donors?



13 September 2019


Washington State
Emails of unionizing UW profs subject to public disclosure after high court ruling
Snoqualmie City Council suspends video recording of open public comment portion of meetings
Following police shooting, Spokane PD explains body camera policy
Text message raises concerns about open meetings laws in Clark County
Lincoln County in “uncharted territory” with collective bargaining ruling
Clark College Foundation sues its own college to evade public records request

Outside Washington State

Laws, Legislation, Policy
Open records bill dies after staff privately contradicts governor’s transparency pledge – OR

Transparency and Open Government
Public Records Czar abruptly resigns after 18 months, cites “Abuse of Authority” – OR
Oregon Public Records Advocate On Why She’s Resigning – OR
Governor does away with public records website Scott Walker created – WI

Privacy, Security, and Tech
Boxes upon boxes of old, un-redacted tax records found in Albuquerque dumpster – NM

Archives and Records Management
Opinion: NARA and the government’s ‘unsustainable’ avalanche of secrets
Archivists find unseen 9/11 photos in stash of CDs from house clearance sale – NY
GCN: Why blockchain works for records management




06 September 2019


Outside Washington State


Laws, Legislation, Policy

NY State Privacy Act Fails to Pass – NY


In the Courts

Idaho Press Club sues Ada County over public record access – ID

Ninth Circuit: Courts Can Force Feds to Put Records Online

Appellate court rules Georgia General Assembly not required to comply with Open Records Act

City rejects lawsuit’s claim that residents’ emails to city officials aren’t public record – MI

Missouri government sued over heavily redacting info already released to union – MO


Transparency and Open Government 

Cities differ on question of private council briefings targeted by transparency advocates

Governor will still withhold records from public, despite letter from attorney general – MO

How the NY Times uses FOIA to obtain information the public has a right to know

Uber argues drivers’ names are ‘closely guarded trade secret’

The police avoid requests for their records by simply not keeping any

Editorial: Comey is another government elite treating public records like private property – USA

Grizzly Secrets: Trump administration keeps public in the dark about Yellowstone grizzlies

FERC, NERC propose to publicly identify utilities violating cybersecurity standards


Privacy, Security, and Tech

Gov. Ned Lamont overrules health commissioner; supports new law to release immunization data – CT

City of Sao Paulo to use blockchain registry for Public Works data

Was E-mail a Mistake? Mathematics of distributed systems suggests that meetings might be better


Archives and Records Management

NY Public Library: Historical copyright records and transparency – NY