Welcome to the 1st edition of the Carnival of Open Records.
Here’s our very first roundup of the best blog posts of the week from the FOIA-sphere.
Joel Campbell at FOI FYI is on top of one of the month’s most interesting FOIA stories. The American Bar Association is considering resolutions at an upcoming conference that would encourage states to limit public access to criminal justice system records. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and others are urging the ABA not to go down that road.
Don’t try to mess with open records if you live in Missouri. It’s time for a school district to stop playing games with the public.
In Washington (the state), the two attorneys who write the Og-Blog say that Washington’s public meetings act is no longer a functional law because of the “eight gauntlets”. (I like that word picture of gauntlets…it lends a Harry Potteresque feel.)
Meanwhile, over in Pennsylvania, our ardent and articulate friends at Pass Open Records are keeping the heat on state legislators who’d like to slide through another legislative session without meaningful reform of Pennsylvania’s open records laws. Check out Apples-to-apples, The Bills Compared and Comparison Part 3.
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen does the right thing and protects their ombudsman system.
Tamara Thompson, one of the two private eyes who run the PI Buzz blog, has a typically useful post enumerating the new places where you can find public records in Missouri, Tennessee, New York and North Carolina.
Also apropos of federal FOIA, Mark Tapscott asks congressman John Boehner a simple FOIA question at a Heritage event and the answer leads to the reflection, Who will play requiem for the GOP in Congress?
David Kassel at the Accountable Strategies blog has a post that deserves careful reading and consideration. It’s not about FOIA but it is about FOIA’s broader goal of transparency.
Roger Matus hosts an invaluable blog, Death by Email that often looks at things people wish they hadn’t said in an email. As FOIAers increasingly ask for copies of emails written on government servers, Roger often produces cutting edge analyses of great interest to those in FOIA-land, such as Content Analysis Should Determine Whether Emails are Public Records. The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling, and said that just because an email was sent on a government server doesn’t mean it is a public document–the court should perform a content analysis first to see if the email falls into the “private” category.
Finally, I’m pleased to announce that the FOIA-sphere has found another FOIA blog, this one written by Chris Joyner and hosted on the Mississippi Clarion Ledger’s website. Chris does very impressive work and I’m looking forward to reading him regularly.
And this concludes our first Carnival of Open Records. I hope it has been an enjoyable and informative tour. We hope that more and more bloggers will start writing about FOIA (or filing open records requests and telling us about that). I’m hosting next week’s edition as well. You can send me the links to your best open records blog posts of the coming week here.
This carnival is registered at The Blog Carnival.