Freedom of Information

Alabama state attorney: Photographing public records for free is ‘stealing’

By   /  September 22, 2014  /  Abuse of power, Alabama, News, Open Records  /  No Comments

Arthur-Orr-cropped

In what would appear to be a case of government run amuck, at least two state agencies in Alabama won’t let citizens take pictures of public records, with an attorney for one equating the idea with stealing.

Read More →

On Presidents’ Day, Virginia’s transparency track record disgraces legacy

By   /  February 17, 2014  /  Commentary  /  No Comments

PRESCIENT: Thomas Jefferson foresaw the inherent dangers of a centralized government.

By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — More than two centuries ago, the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe established the cornerstones of this great commonwealth and the United States.
They built this commonwealth and nation understanding a fundamental principle — that without transparent and open government accountable to the people, those people [...]

Read More →

VA FOI council kills Hanover County proposal to make public meetings private

By   /  September 13, 2013  /  Virginia, WatchBlog  /  No Comments

WHO'S THE WINNER?: More than half of Virginia's races for the House of Delegates will be uncontested this year.

By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND — Virginia taxpayers can rest assured that local elected officials won’t be able to legally conspire in small groups without public notice — at least, for now.
Members of Virginia’s Freedom of Information Advisory Council on Thursday decidedly killed a heavily criticized proposal from Hanover County’s Board of Supervisors [...]

Read More →

Iowa lawmakers mum on details of earnings

By   /  March 14, 2013  /  Accountability, Ethics, Finances, Iowa, Issues, Legislature, News, Open Records, Politics & Elections, State Government  /  No Comments

Iowa lawmakers not transparent in disclosing compensation details.

By Tushar Rae | Special to Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES – State senators in Iowa sidestepped questions this week regarding their annual compensation and stalled the release of information offering a more detailed view of their expenses.
Iowa Watchdog requested a breakdown of lawmaker compensation, including their salary, per diem, constituency costs, lodging and meal receipts and mileage. Officials with [...]

Read More →

U.S. Supreme Court weighs Virginia’s public access laws

By   /  February 20, 2013  /  Journalism, News, Open Records, State Government, Transparency, Virginia  /  No Comments

The highest court in the land ruled on Monday that states — at least, Arizona — can't require proof of citizenship for people to register to vote.

By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the highest court in the land as the regal backdrop, the Old Dominion is now center stage in a national drama that will likely determine citizens’ rights to public information in all 50 states for decades to come.
The nine U.S. Supreme Court justices fired questions [...]

Read More →

VA legislative aides get same FOIA privileges as their bosses

By   /  February 1, 2013  /  News, State Government, Transparency, Uncategorized, Virginia  /  1 Comment

ACCESS DENIED: Legislative aides are merely an extension of their bosses, and have the same FOIA protections when working for them, the Virginia House of Delegates decided on Friday.

It’s official. The legislative aides of Virginia’s 140 state senators and delegates have the same protections under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act as their bosses.

Read More →