Moving the Needle on Transparency

States continue to move the needle on transparency. Whether your state is increasing transparency or defending protections; it’s likely that challenges to the status quo are making your job a little harder.

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Legislation

Police reform moving forward in Pennsylvania

On Friday, [July 23] Governor Tom Wolf joined the Pennsylvania State Police and other top state officials to announced the launch of Act 57.

“Today we mark the next step… the next step in implementing the reforms included in Act 57 […] and that is the creation of a database for separation records to track misconduct by peace officers in the Commonwealth, wherever they are,” Wolf said.

The database was established by the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission (MPOETC), with the ability to keep information on officers who have a history of criminal charges or discipline for actions ranging from excessive force to discrimination. The goal of it is to enhance the background investigation process for hiring officers.

Read More | Local 21 News

Compliance

San Jose, California mayor uses private email to skirt public records law

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo appears to have skirted public records laws by directing a resident to contact him on his private Gmail and deleting their correspondence from his public government account.

The email thread, obtained by San José Spotlight, shows the mayor promising to delete the conversation from his official email. None of the messages in question—which dealt with public business—were turned over in a public records request. This means Liccardo effectively avoided their public disclosure by using his private account and deleting the thread.

The California Public Records Act requires public disclosure of all communications related to city business—even if an email was produced using a private account or device.

Read More | San Jose Spotlight

LITIGATION

Idaho Press Club sues Lt. Gov. McGeachin over public records

The statewide press association filed the lawsuit in 4th District Court on Monday, asking a judge to order McGeachin to fully release the records about her Education Task Force and comply with the timelines set under the state’s Public Records Act.

McGeachin’s chief of staff, Jordan Watters first told [journalist Audrey] Dutton that some of the information was exempt from disclosure and later denied that Dutton had asked for some of the information at all, according to the lawsuit. Dutton was told that she would have to pay more than $500 to get the information and that it would take longer than allowed under the public records law.

Read More | AP News

Peer Resource

Indio, California's new software streamlines records request process

In an effort to enhance public transparency, the City of Indio recently went live with records request software from GovQA. GovQA tracks public records requests across multiple departments, standardizes records processing, and helps fulfill requests in accordance with the Public Records Act and California Law.

The City of Indio receives about 350 public records requests in any given year—some exceedingly complex, necessitating hundreds of staff hours to process, organize and respond. Prior to implementing GovQA, keeping track of the requests was also an involved process, utilizing multiple spreadsheet logs, e-folders, and many emails to and from internal departments, in addition to the requester.

GovQA allows the requester to submit a new public records request, track its progress and receive updates by email.

Read More | Patch 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.

Sheriffs’ Association of Texas 143rd Annual Training Conference & Expo

New York State Virtual Discovery Roundtable

Webinar: Responding to Video/Audio Public Record/OPRA Requests in New Mexico/Colorado

Webinar: Responding to Video/Audio Public Record Requests in Maryland/Connecticut

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 peers@govqa.com.

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