Drawing the Line Between Public Records and PII

Events of 2020, such as the Covid-19 pandemic and civil unrest, continue to influence how states revamp their public record laws and definitions.

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Featured

Body camera videos would not be public under Alabama bill

[Alabama’s] House Bill 6 would create a process in which only people who appear on the videos, or their families and lawyers, could request to see the footage or get a copy.

[Bill sponsor, Rep. Juandalynn Givan] said she has heard criticism of the bill and acknowledged that the legislation isn’t perfect. But she said it’s better than relying on Alabama’s Open Records Act, which is weak and practically unenforceable. Right now, police aren’t legally required to share footage, even with the families of people who are killed by officers.

Read More | AL.com News

GovTech released their list of 2021 GovTech 100 Companies…

With 30 companies new to this year’s GovTech 100, GovQA remains one of only 21 original organizations to make the list since its inception in 2016.

Legislation

Colorado Lawmakers looking at measure to protect personal information in upcoming session

Colorado lawmakers are proposing a bill this session looking to limit information state agencies share with each other.

The proposal calls for personal identifying information (PII) to be kept by agencies they were submitted to. The proposal states: In order to be granted access to PII, including through a database or automated network maintained by a state agency, a third party must certify that they/it will not use or disclose information obtained for the purpose of investigating, enforcing, cooperating with, or assisting in federal immigration enforcement. If a person or entity requests a record from a state agency and the record contains PII, the state agency is required to retain a written record of the request that contains specified information.

Read MoreFox Denver 31 News

Virginia bill requiring public reporting of major outbreaks still alive, but Senate nixes emergency enactment

The [Virginia] Department of Health (VDH) has consistently refused to provide case counts by facility on the grounds that it would violate a section of state code ordering the commissioner of health to “preserve the anonymity of each patient and practitioner.”

[Sen. Lynwood] Lewis’s bill, Senate Bill 1362, aims to address those transparency concerns by requiring any workplace with 50 or more employees that reports five or more cases within 14 days and for which VDH determines “a likely epidemiological linkage between cases” to publicly report the name of the facility and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Currently workplaces only have to report cases to VDH.

Read More | Virginia Mercury

Michigan State Police director to officers: Remove text messaging app Signal from state phones

The director of the Michigan State Police has instructed his officers to remove “nonstandard” applications such as the text messaging app Signal from their state phones by Wednesday [Feb. 10] and to seek authorization before downloading such apps in the future.

The MSP has said that even officers using Signal without authorization will retain any text messages sent regarding official business and they have no information indicating that has not happened.

Read More | Detroit Free Press

Peer Resource

PiPR Podcast: Responding to a Pandemic

GovQA’s Chief Evangelist, Jen Snyder is joined by James Farrell, Chief Information Officer for the Village of Bolingbrook, IL, as they look back on the many challenges the Pandemic brought to Bolingbrook, as well as communities across the country.

They also discuss how priorities needed to shift immediately and what challenges still lie ahead.

Listen to the PiPR Podcast

Read More | GovQA

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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