The Cost of Transparency
States are expanding accessibility to public records, but at what cost? The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides a new funding source to cover the cost of digitizing your Public Records Management.
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What is ARPA?
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides a substantial infusion of resources to eligible state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to help turn the tide on the pandemic, address its economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.
Is public records software an eligible investment of ARPA funds?
Yes it is! According to the latest information released by the Treasury (including FAQs), here are eligible uses of ARPA funds by state and local governments.
Read More | GovQA
Pennsylvania updates open records law, adding requirement that public meeting agendas be posted online
Pennsylvanians will get more notice about about the topics and issues their local leaders plan to address at public meetings under a newly streamlined open records law.
[The week of June 28], Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill requiring government agencies, school districts and local municipalities to post their meeting agendas online at least 24 hours in advance. The law takes effect in 60 days.
Melissa Melewsky, the media law attorney for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, told PennLive that while government agencies already are required to post schedules of all public meetings at the start of the year; prior to this new law, Pennsylvania had no universal practice for informing what will be discussed.
Read More | PhillyVoice.com
City of Akron, Ohio required to turn in body camera surveillance if an officer uses deadly force or causes bodily harm
Akron, Ohio City Council voted to enact a new law Monday, [June 28] that requires its police department to release body camera footage to the public within seven days of an officer using deadly force, or force that results in serious bodily injury.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan heralded the move as an innovative step toward greater transparency they hope will help build greater trust between the community and its police force.
In Ohio, body camera and dashboard camera footage are considered public records; but the state law gives departments broad discretion over what and when to release certain information. The state added police shootings to the list of public records in 2019.
Read More | Cleveland.com
Colorado Supreme Court ruling makes more police internal investigations accessible
People no longer need to reference a “specific, identifiable incident” in requesting completed law enforcement internal affairs investigations in Colorado, the state’s highest court ruled Monday [June 28].
The 5-2 decision by the Colorado Supreme Court upholds a district court’s ruling against the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office’s refusal to provide a criminal defendant with internal investigation files about deputies involved in her case because she did not make the request about a specific incident.
Read More | Coloradoan
Case Study: Volusia County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office
In March 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic caused government lobbies to close for public health and safety, the Volusia Sheriff’s Office (VSO) launched a 21st century digital public records center with GovQA. Moving this vital government service online at that time was advantageous, for sure. But the Sheriff’s Office continues to see many benefits above and beyond crisis response.
GovQA spoke with Lisa Linden, Volusia Sheriff’s Office Records Supervisor, about the benefits of automating public records processing with GovQA software. Check out a recap of that conversation.
Read More | GovQA
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.
NACo Annual Conference
Reserve Your Virtual Seat: Department of Transportation Roundtable
Sheriffs’ Association of Texas 143rd Annual Training Conference & Expo
Reserve Your Virtual Seat: Northeast Roundtable
Reserve Your Virtual Seat: Illinois Roundtable
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.