Your Weekly Public Records Roundup

The debate around what public servant records should be publicly accessible continues. While some states move forward to expand access, others add to their seemingly ever-growing list of exemptions. Check it out:

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Lawsuit alleges DC police department keeps 'watchlist' of critics

A lawsuit filed Wednesday [Feb. 2] against the District of Columbia alleges its police department keeps a “watchlist” of critics and stalls or denies requests for public information from those on it.

Amy Phillips, a criminal defense lawyer and “outspoken critic” of the Metropolitan Police Department, filed the lawsuit after, she said, a former employee alerted her to the alleged existence of the watchlist and her presence on it. Phillips said in the lawsuit that she is on the alleged list because she requested information that embarrassed MPD and that she intends to continue to hold them to account.

The lawsuit claims the alleged list is a “constitutional violation” and discriminates against requestors of public information on the basis of the “content and viewpoint of prior or anticipated speech,” according to the court filing.

Read More | ABC News

2021 Public Records Year-in-Review: Data Trends and Guidance for 2022

Join GovQA on Thursday, February 10th for a webinar on Solutions for Growing Volume, Complexity, and Budget Shortfalls.

We’ll cover the impact of increasing volume and complexity of record requests, and provide solutions for reducing or recovering costs associated with fulfilling public records requests including those for materials, services and litigation – while improving your customer experiences.

Learn more and Register >>>


Bill raising fees on public records passes Utah House

Bill raising fees on public records passes Utah House

The Utah House passed a proposal Tuesday to increase fees on requests for public records from so-called vexatious requesters.

The bill would allow government entities to charge for the first 15 minutes of work done to fulfill the request if the person has filed a separate request in the previous 10 days, the Deseret News reported.

Those fees can now be waived.

The bill passed on a 60-13 vote. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Read More | U.S. News


Virginia Governor Youngkin’s office denies request to make ‘tip line’ emails public

Emails to a “tip line” that [Virginia] Gov. Glenn Youngkin promoted and asked parents to report any “inherently divisive practices” in schools won’t be made public by his office.

Youngkin’s office cited an exemption from the state’s public-records law in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, seeking the messages sent to the email address.

The records are being withheld because they are considered “working papers and correspondence of the Office of the Governor,” Youngkin’s office wrote in an email. Other news outlets that filed similar FOIA requests have reported getting the same response.

Read More | WFXR News


Arkansas court says trooper photos don't have to be released

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday [Feb. 3] reversed a judge’s decision that State Police must release photos of all of its troopers who don’t work undercover, saying doing so would effectively identify troopers who work undercover.

Justices sided with the State Police, which had denied a Freedom of Information Act request by blogger Russ Racop. In 2020, Racop requested photos of all uniformed and plainclothes state troopers who don’t work undercover.

A Pulaski County judge last year ordered the agency to release the photos, saying that they didn’t fall under an exemption in the public records law for undercover officers. But the high court put that order on hold while they considered the case.

Justices ruled that releasing the photos could be used to identify troopers who work undercover by comparing it to information from other sources, such as the state’s transparency website that lists the names, salaries and other identifying information of state employees.

Read More | U.S. News

Judge won’t block release of records revealing Seattle officers who attended rally before Capitol riot

For the second time in less than a year, a King County, WA judge has rejected a request to block the city of Seattle from disclosing records that would identify police officers who participated in a pro-Donald Trump rally in Washington, D.C., before last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In a written order signed Tuesday, [Feb. 1] Superior Court Judge Sandra Widlan denied the motion for a preliminary injunction filed by four Seattle officers who want to prevent their identities from being disclosed in records requested by members of the public.

The judge also extended a stay on her ruling for seven days, giving the officers — known as “John Does” in court documents — a chance to appeal her ruling. If they don’t appeal by Feb. 8, the city can release records identifying the officers to Seattle University law student Sam Sueoka and others who’ve asked for them under the state’s Public Records Act.

Read More | The Seattle Times


PiPRPodcast Episode 6: Customer Success

In this episode, Jen Snyder is joined by Nicole Soltes, Director of Customer Success for GovQA, as they discuss what customer success is, how GovQA approaches customer success, and the benefits clients experience by partnering with a customer success manager. Learn how the customer success team helps agencies effectively engage with software from Success Plan with metrics…to usage analysis and regular cadence of check-ins…to training…to Executive Business Reviews.

Listen in on this informative conversation.

Listen to Episode 6 of the PiPRPodcast

Read More | GovQA – Now Part of Granicus

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.

Public Records Solutions Webinar: Cost Reduction & Cost Recovery

2021 Public Records Year-in-Review: Data Trends and Guidance for 2022

Clerks Public Records Virtual Roundtable

Public Records Solutions Webinar: Response to Rising Requests for Video Files & Video Redaction

See All Upcoming Events

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

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