Is THAT Considered a Public Record…?

The increased call for transparency has left government agencies with the ongoing battle of determining what records should be available to the public under current public record laws.

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Featured

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody sues feds over immigration records

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit Friday [Dec. 3] alleging that federal agencies have not complied with records requests about Biden administration immigration policies.

It alleges that the state sent a Freedom of Information request to the federal agencies Oct. 11 seeking records related to immigration policies.

“The defendants have failed to process and make a determination regarding Florida’s October 11, 2021 FOIA request within the statutory time limit and are unlawfully withholding records requested by Florida,” the lawsuit said.

Moody is asking a judge to order the federal agencies to search for records in connection with the request and produce non-exempt records.

Read More | The Florida Times-Union

LEGISLATION

California SB 16 compliance: Expanded public access to law enforcement personnel records for 2022 and beyond

New police records rules mandating additional disclosures of personnel records will go into effect next year with SB 16, which builds on the landmark SB 1421. The new law adds numerous categories to the four existing disclosure mandates, and every California law enforcement agency should expect to receive requests in each new category.

Some of SB 16’s provisions will take effect immediately, while others won’t take effect until January 1, 2023.

There is some ambiguity in the drafting of SB 16’s delayed implementation provisions. Given this ambiguity and the extensive changes that SB 16 brings, agencies need to immediately begin to prepare for implementation.

Read More | JDSupra

Wisconsin Governor Evers vetoes classroom transparency proposal

Parents across Wisconsin will not get to see everything their kids are learning in school.

Gov. Tony Evers on Friday [Dec. 3] vetoed the so-called classroom transparency act.

The idea of the plan was to have schools share their curriculum, lesson plans, and assignments with parents so they knew just what their kids are being taught.

The governor says he ultimately chose to veto the plan because of the potential costs.

“I object to the bill’s failure to provide the necessary funding to implement these measures,” the governor wrote in his veto message.

“A parent should not need to file an open records request, and possibly pay a fee, to find out what is being taught in the classroom,” [Senator] Stroebel said.

Read More | The Center Square

COMPLIANCE

California loophole allows school districts to shield what they pay teachers, administrators

Every year, the state controller publishes thousands of public employees’ salaries, from nearly every city, county and special district, on its transparency-focused “Government Compensation in California” website.

Here’s what you won’t find: about two-thirds of the Golden State’s school systems.

Unlike other public agencies in the state, California’s schools can choose whether to participate because of a loophole in state law. Most do not even reply to the controller’s requests.

This year, of the 1,915 requests sent to education employers, only 447 provided the appropriate information. Another 128 responded, but with either incomplete or unacceptable records, according to the state Controller’s Office.

Read More | Daily Bulletin

LITIGATION

Iowa Governor cites pandemic and asserts executive privilege in open-records lawsuit

Lawyers for Gov. Kim Reynolds are arguing in court that she was too busy to respond quickly to public-records requests this year due to the pandemic, and that her decision-making process is shielded from disclosure by executive privilege.

The governor’s office has made those arguments in recent weeks as part of an effort to dispose of two lawsuits alleging she and her staff have violated the Iowa Open Records Law.

In addition to asserting executive privilege, the governor’s office is arguing that the lawsuits, filed in Polk County District Court, have been rendered moot because the documents requested of her office were disclosed five months later once the lawsuits were filed.

Read More | Iowa Capital Dispatch

PEER RESOURCE

Results Webinar Recording: 2022 Peers in Public Records Survey

Are your priorities aligned with those of your Peers?

On November 16th GovQA walked through the early findings from the largest survey of its kind, the PiPRSurvey.

Watch the recording for the trends we’ve been seeing this year along with insight into how these trends compare to findings from the 2020 and 2021 PiPRSurvey. You’ll walk away from the video with a better understanding of what your Peers on the Public Records frontlines are prioritizing as they move into 2022.

Watch the PiPRSurvey Early Findings Webinar

Read More | GovQA

GovQA's Upcoming Events

GovQA’s hosts and moderates events to create and expand opportunities for state and local government agency members to discuss the challenges they face.

Department of Corrections Roundtable

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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 peers@govqa.com.

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