Updates: State open records

California:

The City of San Jose wants to require its police force to release more documents to the public than the state’s sunshine law requires. As they pursue this objective, a county district attorney has argued that the city can’t go further than state law.

Colorado:

The editorial staff of the Rocky Mountain News argues against a bill proposed in the Colorado house, HB 1082, that would seal from public view criminal records that are ten years old, as long as the perp has maintained a clean record during that time: Don’t Seal Those Records.

Florida

The city of Jackson, Florida, must pay $41,000 in legal fees to the Jackson Sun. The Jackson Sun was forced to go to court to obtain public records that the city willfully and illegally (as determined by a judge) withheld. Pity the taxpayers.

New Jersey

In Hoboken, New Jersey, activist and city council member Beth Mason lost an appeal last week of a judicial ruling that her open records requests were too broad. Mason says that this ruling means that unless a citizen knows the exact title and date of a document, they won’t be able to get it. Mason had sought information about the city’s park plans. The mayor of Hoboken is under the impression that Mason is wasting taxpayer dollars with her requests. Possibly Mason believes that she is attempting to save taxpayer dollars by finding out how the city makes its decisions about parks.

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3 responses to “Updates: State open records

  1. In Hawai’i, SB 1773 which is at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/docs/getstatus2.asp?billno=SB1773 is currently making its way through the sausage making process.

    The Office of Information Practices (in Hawai’i) has opined that government boards and commissions that engage in procurement decision making are not subject to either the Sunshine Law or Uniform Information Practices Act (Chapters 92 and 92F of Haw. Rev. Stat.).

    This bill which passed out of committee and was hanked back onto committee so its probably dead. The problem with this is that the “exemption” from Sunshine is not in the statute, but rather, a policy decision of the agency that is supposed to help the public get records. In my opinion, the bill is legally unnecessary, but may be practically necessary to reverse the agency opinion.

  2. That’s an interesting point that you bring up — why would a bill be needed to reverse something that is not a law? I’m pleased to see that it is a PRO sunshine bill, but it does seem unnecessary.

    I’d love to see your thoughts on this bill on http://www.WikiFOIA.org. This page: http://wikifoia.pbwiki.com/Hawaii+Exemptions, which lists exsisting exemptions to FOIA in Hawaii, could use your input đŸ™‚

  3. Oops, a comma got in the way of that Hawaii link, here it is again:
    http://wikifoia.pbwiki.com/Hawaii+Exemptions

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