Your Weekly Public Records Roundup
There has been a lot of movement in the world of Public Records, from new legislation, to a new form of funding, check out what you missed…
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Oregon Legislature fortifies independence for state public records advocate
Oregon lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday [June 23] that delegates the responsibility to hire and fire the state’s public records advocate to the 11-member council that was established to advise the position when it was created back in 2017. It effectively removes the potential for the advocate to be influenced by any elected official.
The public records advocate’s job is to mediate records disputes between state and local government agencies and records requesters, provide training to public employees who act as records custodians, and act as the leader of the Public Records Advisory Council (PRAC).
Senate Bill 500 — which passed unanimously in the House and 28-1 in the Senate — deletes language in the 2017 bill that established the office that gives explicit hiring and firing authority to the governor with confirmation by the Senate.
Read More | OPB News
Delaware Senator seeks common ground on proposed FOIA change
Some bills won’t make it to the finish line before Delaware lawmakers complete their work on June 30th.
That includes Senate Bill 155, [sponsored by State Sen. Kyle Evans Gay], which would make changes to the state’s Freedom of Information Act – changes that raised alarms with open government advocates.
The Freedom of Information Act provides the public a tool to access government documents. And Gay’s legislation seeks to make changes to Delaware’s version, including clarifications to the appeals process if a FOIA request is denied.
Two sentences in the bill alarmed open government advocates. They allow a government agency to deny a request construed to be abusive or disruptive.
Gay is offering an amendment requiring agencies to provide a factual reason denying a request as unreasonable. But the concerns raised prompted her to put the bill on hold until next year.
Read More | Delaware Public Media
Governor Whitmer signs a bill to update Michigan's Open Meetings Act
Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Republican Sen. Lana Theis from Brighton, will amend the Open Meetings Act. The Act originally allowed the public to read meeting minutes on veteran service committees because they are a governmental body.
Bill 10 now allows for the veteran services to have a closed, private meeting to interview a veteran and their family regarding an application for benefits or financial assistance.
“People have a reasonable expectation of privacy, especially when it concerns personal and sensitive financial, medical, and other health information,” said Sen. Theis.
Read More | WZZM13 News
Why does the Orange County, CA Sheriff destroy misconduct files after 5 years?
Thanks to a recent state law, the public now has a right to see investigation files about police officers who were found to have committed serious misconduct – including lying, wrongfully killing someone, or sexual assault.
But if you ask the OC Sheriff’s Department for anything older than a few years, you’re largely out of luck.
Sheriff officials have a policy of destroying their misconduct records after five years – with narrow exceptions if there’s a legal hold or pending records request.
It’s the bare minimum they’re required to keep the documents under state law.
Read More | Voice of OC
The American Rescue Plan Act (and its Impact on Public Records) Explained
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.
Free eCourse – ARPA and public records
This 8-part eCourse will provide resources to help you convince others in your organization of the value of investing in a public records solution using ARPA funds.
To keep up with the pace of increasing volume and complexity of public records – you are going to need to modernize your technology and deliver more government services – like public records – digitally.
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.
Florida Association of City Clerks Summer Conference
NAGARA Webinar: The City’s History as Outreach: Hidden Voices & New Intersections
Reserve Your Virtual Seat: Department of Transportation Roundtable
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 email@example.com.