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States look to amplify their transparency efforts.  

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Texas Open Records Act Takes Effect September 1st

A minor panic is setting in statewide among public officials over an update to the Texas Open Records act that takes effect September first.

The new law says any public official who texts about public business now has to save the text messages for at least two years. Its application is what has so many worried. The new law applies to utility workers, police officers, clerks, park employees, virtually anyone who gets a public paycheck.

What is more, the law does not differentiate between publically issued phones and iPads and private devices if the public official is texting about public business.


Read More | KRLD News Radio

Anonymous Poll

Should more states follow Texas and expand public record laws to include text messages containing public information sent via private devices? 


Yes
No

 
(results shared in the next FOIA News)

8/14: Poll Results

73% of FOIA News subscribers think police should be allowed to equip their body cameras with facial recognition software.

FOIA HEADLINES

California court eases secrecy on police officer records

The California Supreme Court on Monday [August 26] expanded rules for telling suspects that they’ve been arrested by a police officer who has previously been accused of taking bribes, tampering with evidence or witnesses, lying or using excessive force.

The justices ruled that a suspect’s right to a fair trial outweighs the privacy rights of officers who might have a history of bad behavior.

Justices rejected a lower court ruling that barred the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from giving prosecutors the names of deputies accused of improper conduct.

Read More | KUSI News

Court orders release of names of NYPD retirees collecting pensions

A judge has ordered a public pension fund to reveal the names of most retired New York City police officers receiving pensions, according to a decision that a government watchdog group called a huge win for taxpayers.

The Empire Center, represented by the nonprofit Government Justice Center, won the right to publicly release the names of pensioners except for undercover police officers. The Empire Center already publishes the names and pension benefits of retirees receiving pensions from the funds serving teachers, firefighters, police statewide and other state and local public employees.

Read More | Newsday

Officials pass resolution for enhanced access to public records

he city of Fenton [Michigan] will soon be charging what they deem is a reasonable fee for enhanced access to public records. On Monday, Aug. 26, the City Council voted to pass a resolution that will give the city the ability to charge for these records and give the treasurer the authority to calculate the fee schedule.

According to the resolution, the city establishes this policy pursuant to the act to provide enhanced access for the inspection, copying or purchasing of certain public records that are not confidential or otherwise exempt by law from disclosure.

Read More | Myfenton.com 

LAWSUITS

WDRB.com: Image of KY police badge

Kentucky State Police ordered to pay WDRB News for 'willfully' withholding public records

A Franklin Circuit Court judge has ruled that Kentucky State Police "willfully withheld" public records from WDRB News and ordered the agency to pay the station $11,500 of taxpayer money in attorneys' fees and penalties.

The order follows Judge Thomas Wingate's June 24 ruling in which he said he could not "fathom" how the law enforcement agency justified its decision not to release internal investigations of troopers.

State police have appealed that ruling but have turned the records over to the judge. The agency can also appeal the fees and penalties order.


Read More | WDBR

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