Transparency

In the Age of Social Distancing, Government Meetings Go Virtual

State and local governments are holding virtual meetings to slow the spread of Covid-19 and trying to find ways to continue public participation.

Granting Anonymity to State Lawmakers—Behind Tinted Windows

State law in Rhode island requires tinted car windows to let in a certain amount of light. One lawmaker wants to exempt General Assembly members from the rule, saying it's necessary to ensure safety.

Union Organizing Emails May Be Subject to Disclosure After State High Court Ruling

A group often at odds with government labor unions says the case sets an important precedent for when correspondence about union activities is public record.

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge on State Code Copyrights

Georgia holds a copyright for its annotated state code, which sells for $404, and sued to block a website from distributing free copies of the document.

Philly Mayor Deleted Years of Text Messages

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | W.Va. teachers strike … Alaska cold case leads to arrest in Maine using genetic genealogy … and the Cincinnati City Council’s attendance record.

The Reason Why Kentucky’s Pension Reform Law Was Struck Down

Gov. Matt Bevin, who championed the legislation, called Thursday’s state Supreme Court ruling “an unprecedented power grab by activists judges.”

The Case For Embracing Transparency

COMMENTARY | It's time to rethink and reframe our approach to public records.

Insurance Companies Balk at Florida’s Health Care Cost Transparency Website

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Feds sue California over net neutrality protections ... Nevada sex offender registry changes … and cat stuck on pole prompts interagency frustration.

Secret Government Communication Lawsuit Continues in Missouri

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Tulsa’s sexual assault grant funding … Louisiana wants to build an airport in a wildlife refuge … and Duluth’s unusual snow-shoveling rule.

The Difficult Balance of Transparency and Privacy for Local Governments

“Risk will never be zero so it has to be actively managed,” according to Jason Lally, data services manager for the city and county of San Francisco.

Police Records Case Puts City Hall on the Hook for Major Penalties and Fees

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | San Francisco’s scooter ultimatum … La. safety-net hospitals may close … and no more $49 burgers for Conn. town budget meetings.

Judge: Chicago Mayor’s Office Violated State Open Records Law

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Ind. school takeover bill OK’d … feds looking at Atlanta airport contracts … 6 states sue Purdue Pharma … and S.F. mayor’s public safety plan.

Private Water Utility Shareholders Reject Transparency Proposals

The proposals would have required American Water to make new disclosures on political contributions and lobbying.

New Study Grades State Government Spending Websites

Ohio and West Virginia were among the states that fared well in the rankings.

After Public Fury in Washington State, Lawmakers Rethink Legislative Transparency

“Local officials are used to the idea that their records are public,” according to state freedom of information advocate Michele Earl-Hubbard. “It is the longtimers at the Capitol who don’t think that way.”

Major Changes for LAPD Body Camera Transparency Policies

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Austin bombings keep residents on high alert; Ariz. teachers plan sickout; D.C. mayor vs. Marco Rubio; San Francisco’s fur ban; and more tech jobs are heading to Missoula.

Pennsylvania Decision Puts Public Officials on Notice Regarding Their Facebook Use

It all started with a proposed local mural. Then things online got snarky and personal.

Colorado’s First-in-the-Nation Risk-Limiting Audits Take Shape Ahead of 2017 Election

The state has had eight years to develop a secure election process that’s open source and easily replicable.