Movement on the Transparency Front of Public Records
The pandemic and civil unrest in 2020 has increased the call for government transparency, and caused record requests to become more complex — a recipe that may strain some public record department’s resources.
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Legislation to increase government transparency in Cook County, IL signed into law
A measure that would give Cook County [Illinois] taxpayers the ability to easily access public records was signed into law Friday [Aug. 13].
Senate Bill 583 would include the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County under the Local Records Act, providing greater transparency to the public regarding how the clerk’s office uses its public funds. The Circuit Court Clerk’s Office is a non-judicial office of the judiciary and not a local government or public body currently subject to FOIA.
Additionally, the legislation requires all clerks of circuit courts to accept credit card payments over the internet for fines, penalties, court costs and other costs, providing convenience for a county’s citizens when paying fines and fees.
Read More | Illinois Senate Democrats
Transparency' not 'shame': New Jersey releases names of police officers punished for misconduct
In a move state officials have said will boost police transparency in New Jersey, the state attorney general’s office [the week of Aug. 9] released the names of more than 200 officers punished for major misconduct during the second half of 2020.
The report, which includes any disciplinary action that led to a firing, demotion or suspension of more than five days, describes a litany of offenses committed by law enforcement throughout the state.
“We are releasing this information not to shame or embarrass individual officers, but to provide the same type of transparency and accountability in policing that New Jersey mandates in other essential professions,” acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said in a statement.
Read More | North Jersey News
DA seeks contempt order against Philadelphia Police for failure to disclose officers’ disciplinary records
The District Attorney’s Office, with Conviction Integrity Unit Supervisor Patricia Cummings, filed six motions Wednesday [Aug. 11] in Common Pleas Court asking a judge to hold the Philadelphia Police Department in contempt of court for failure to turn over complete police disciplinary records.
The records are used to maintain the Police Misconduct Disclosure Database as part of the effort by the DA’s Office to meet its constitutional obligations.
At an afternoon news conference, DA Larry Krasner said his office had sent out thousands of subpoenas asking for disciplinary records and was given redacted copies in which key information was blacked out.
Read More | Whyy.org
Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Nevada makes public records available to anyone through requests
The public will now have access to public records and case information involving the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office thanks to a new software.
Starting on August 16, members of the public will be able to request public record and case information such as electronic documents, videos and audio files using GovQA.
“Effective, efficient and accessible customer service is of upmost importance to me,” said Sheriff Darin Balaam. “It is my belief that utilizing this platform will help further advance the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office’s commitment to being open and transparent in accordance with Nevada law. For those members of our community who do not have internet or electronic access, written requests will continue to be accepted as they are now – adding the electronic function is merely another avenue for people to request this type of information.”
Read More | Fox 11 News
GovQA's Upcoming Events
GovQA regularly hosts and moderates roundtables and webinars with partners, associations, customers, and other subject matter experts to create and expand opportunities for state and local government agency members to discuss the challenges they face.
Webinar: Responding to Video/Audio Public Record Requests in Maryland/Connecticut
IMLA Webinar – Public Records Responses: Then and Now
New York State Association of Counties
The Peers in Public Records Newsletter (formerly FOIA News) is a bi-monthly e-newsletter brought to you by GovQA. It is a collection of the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives, shared stories, informative case studies, and actionable knowledge that will help you calm the chaos and keep your organization compliant. Send your comments to email@example.com.