Once in awhile I blog about State Open Records matters. However, since I started this blog almost two years ago, I've noticed that others have covered the state matters in depth. And I'm not alone. Leslie Graves has also noticed this trend.
This AP story discusses the Michigan Supreme Court's rulings on two state FOIA cases that came before it. In both cases, personal privacy beat out requester's rights. Links to the actual cases are provided on the last page of the story.
A court in the state of Washington will have to decide if a body made up of entirely public groups is covered by the state's public records law. This article by Daniel Lathrop of the Seattle P-I describes one mans battle to get records from the Association of Washington Cities. As the article states, the Court will decide how to proceed on the matter.
According to this article in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls Courier, changes to the Iowa Public Records law have failed for the 2008 legislative session. The changes were close to being passed before being pulled last weekend. Opposition came from local governments and republicans who were worried about a flood of requests. Requests that, I would think, would be to inform the citizens about what the governments were doing with the requesters tax dollars. Ironic.
This article notes that Tennessee is adding exemptions on a yearly basis to its Public Records Act. While some of the exemptions are needed, some, according to the article, defeat the purpose of government transparency.
Maybe Tennessee should consider a commission, like the state of Washington recently commissioned, to go through the exemptions and recommend ones which should be abolished. In fact, its a good idea for all the states to do this (and the federal government too).
Rhode Island is thinking about changing the time limits agencies have to respond to public record requests from ten (10) day to three (3). The House Judiciary Committee is currently considering the bill.
The Iowa Senate is considering the creation of an office that would enforce the state's public records bill, which has come under a great deal of criticism in the past few years. Interesting, the state's ombudsman is most troubled by the proposed laws codification of the "deliberative process privilege." I think the ombudsman is onto something--hopefully Iowa will not codify the privilege and we can work on getting rid of it at the federal level. It is one of the greatest obstacles to sunshine that ever existed, but that rant is for another day!
I've been writing about the proposed Pennsylvania Open Records law since this blog started in the late summer of 2006. I'm very happy to let everyone know that late last week Governor Ed Rendell has now signed the bill into law. This new law is a major change and advancement in open public records. More details about it can be found here.
The Pennsylvania initiative to create an actual public records law is one step away from becoming a reality. Yesterday, the law passed the state Senate and is now off to Governor Rendell for his signature.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, a major overhaul of the state's Right to Know law is near as the House has passed a version of the bill that the Senate will take up as early as today. After Senate passage, the bill will go to the Governor for signature and take effect January 1, 2009.