Transparency or Hot Seat?
Some state and local government agencies are expanding transparency efforts…others are finding themselves on the hot seat.
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California Legislature approves bill SB 16 to improve police accountability
The California State Legislature approved bill SB 16 on Sept. 2 to expand public availability to police misconduct records.
The California State Senate voted 29-9 to pass the bill and the California State Assembly approved the bill on a vote of 57-13, according to a press release from Sen. Nancy Skinner’s, D-Berkeley, office. SB 16 has been sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for approval.
Authored by Skinner, the bill gives communities the ability to hold police agencies more accountable. The publicly available records will include information about officers who “engaged in biased or discriminatory behavior, conducted unlawful arrests or searches, or used force that is excessive or unreasonable,” according to the press release.
Read More | The Daily Californian
California Senate OKs Bill Expanding Personal Info Definition
California’s Senate approved on Wednesday [Sept. 8] a bill that expands the definition of personal information to include genetic data.
The bill, AB 825, was approved 30-0 and now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk for approval. The Assembly approved the bill 75-0 in May.
The Information Practices Act of 1977 requires agencies to disclose breaches of systems that handle personal information to residents whose unencrypted data was compromised.
Current state law also requires businesses to report such breaches and to employ reasonable security practices.
Read More | Bloomberg Law
Attorney for police department officials asks court to find Little Rock, Arkansas in violation of open-records law
Attorney Robert Newcomb slapped the city of Little Rock, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and City Manager Bruce Moore with a new lawsuit Friday in Pulaski County Circuit Court that asks the court to find the city in violation of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
According to an email exchange included in court filings, Newcomb’s law firm requested a list of materials which appear to be related to the investigation of the department conducted by Loretta Cochran, an Arkansas Tech University professor.
The city’s Freedom of Information Act coordinator responded to Newcomb’s office and acknowledged receipt of the request on the same day, the email exchange shows.
In the complaint, Newcomb wrote that officials had failed to respond to the Aug. 30 request within three business days as required by law.
Read More | Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Utah attorney sues Nebraska state epidemiologist in public-records fight over COVID-19 testing
Nebraska’s acting state epidemiologist is being sued by a Utah attorney after he denied her request for an unredacted validation report regarding COVID-19 tests administered by Test Nebraska.
At issue is whether the blacked-out information qualifies as trade secrets or should be released under public-records laws.
In the lawsuit filed in Lancaster County District Court, Suzette Rasmussen’s attorney, Andre Barry, said: “The public has an interest in knowing whether the COVID-19 tests provided by Nomi Health are (or were) reliable or accurate as claimed, and whether the state’s contract with Nomi Health was worth the cost.”
Read More | Salt Lake Tribune
Granicus Buys Public Records Technology Firm GovQA
In a press release announcing the news last week, Granicus said the acquisition will boost the strength of its Civic Engagement Platform tool for all governments, and further enable its clients to offer consistent and unified digital, automated services to communities.
“The public record request management sector has been blowing up recently,” said Granicus CEO Mark Hynes. “Clerks, public records offices and city councils are struggling with this. It’s a real pressing challenge.”
The stakes are high, he said, as records requests represent an area where failure to produce results in a timely and efficient manner can spark bad feelings among citizens.” GovQA’s records request technology can dramatically reduce the timeline and complexity of requests; and, when incorporated into the broader Granicus platform, will lead to further process improvements.
Read More | Granicus.com
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.
California CLETS Users Group
League of California Cities Annual Conference
Department of Transportation Virtual 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.