Today, more than 40 organizations and individuals committed to government openness and accountability sent a letter thanking Senators Grassley, Leahy and Cornyn for their authorship of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (S.337), and urging the earliest possible passage of the bill. [Read More]
A Sunshine Week look at the most egregious, embarassing, and downright █████ uses of the black box
03-14-16 – By JPat Brown
If you only have a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail – and as we’ve learned over the years from many an overenthusiastic FOIA officer, if you only have a sharpie, then every document looks classified. As part of our Sunshine Week coverage, we put together a list of the most ridiculous redactions we’ve (un)seen. [Read More]
Although it is known as the “Sunshine Law,” the idea of summer fun is usually not synonymous with the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Nevertheless, as we lament the passing of time (and loss of daylight), Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] issued intriguing decisions during the summer that provide teachable moments, such as the following:
Must we still give a document to someone who already has it? Yes. In Smith v. President, Board of Education, Windsor Public Schools, #FIC 2014-831 (August 12, 2015), a noted FOIA gadfly asserted that a board of education violated the FOIA when it denied his request for a copy of a handout that was distributed at a prior board meeting. The board asserted that this person was present at the meeting, and indeed received a copy of the document in question (along other members of the public). The FOIC found that the board violated the FOIA, noting that even if a complainant has received a copy of a document previously, it does not relieve an agency of its obligation to produce a copy when it is requested (again).
Lesson? The right to copies of public records exists [Read More]