Articles Tagged with FOIA

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keyboardCalifornia’s Public Records Act survived a near miss last week. The EFF reports that the California legislature passed a bill last week that included a trailer to cut CPRA funding. The trailer bill would have made compliance with the CPRA optional for local governments.

Thanks to pressure from activists, the bill was replaced, and the CPRA language removed. But it’s still sitting on Gov. Brown’s desk.

California’s Public Records Act, codified at Cal. Gov. Code §6250 et seq. is a state version of the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It is designed to help citizens access the papers and records of state agencies. It covers all public records, defined in Cal. Gov. Code §6252 (e) as “any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.” It also includes “Writings,” defined at §6252(g) as “any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.”


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The 10th Circuit decided an interesting FOIA case this week. In World Pub. Co. v. United States Dept. of Justice, the Court held that Tulsa World magazine was not entitled to six mugshots under the Freedom of Information Act. For more on this case, see posts on Politico and ABA Journal.

The Maryland Supreme Court denied a negligence claim against the state for serving a peanut butter sandwich to an allergic child through the free lunch program. In Pace v. State, the court found that the National School Lunch Act simply establishes a subsidized lunch program to benefit children at participating schools and did not impose a specific statutory duty of care towards children with food allergies.


Posted in: Legal News

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It’s the end of Sunshine Week, so maybe it’s time to find your FBI file (or your grandpa’s).

The Administration’s policy on openness is quite broad:

“President Obama and Attorney General Holder have directed agencies to apply a presumption of openness in responding to FOIA requests. The Attorney General specifically called on agencies not to withhold information just because it technically falls within an exemption and he also encouraged agencies to make discretionary releases of records. The Attorney General emphasized that the President has called on agencies to work in a spirit of cooperation with FOIA requesters. The Office of Information Policy at the Department of Justice oversees agency compliance with these directives and encourages all agencies to fully comply with both the letter and the spirit of the FOIA. President Obama has pledged to make this the most transparent Administration in history.”


Posted in: Technology

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Last term, the buzz was all about Citizens United, which found that corporations are entitled to First Amendment free speech protection.  This term, the Court has the opportunity to extend even more rights to corporations in AT&T vs. FCC, as AT&T seeks protection from unwarranted privacy violations under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act exempts from mandatory disclosure records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes when such disclosure could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of “personal privacy.” 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(C)


Posted in: Legal News