Category Archives: FOIA


Millions of New Records Added to New York State Transparency Website

In a press release issued on May 1, 2013, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the addition of millions of government records to the state’s new data transparency website, which launched during Sunshine Week in March of this year. The website was created in an effort to provide citizens with user-friendly, one-stop access to government data from New York State agencies, localities, and the federal government. Information on a variety of subjects such as food safety inspections, state jobs data, daycare facilities, economic development, crime data, and medical conduct discipline records were included in the initial launch of … Read More

Controversy over Published Gun Permit Records Continues

A newspaper in suburban New York has received nationwide attention and criticism after publishing an interactive map that lists the names and addresses of gun permit holders in Rockland and Westchester counties. The Journal News sought this information following the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and was obtained legally under New York’s Freedom of Information Law.

The release of these records has ignited heated debates all across the country. While some readers appreciated the information, others believe that it was an invasion of privacy and fear it could also endanger gun permit holders. In an article titled “The Journal … Read More

Freedom of Information Act Requests Gets Easier

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Obtaining public information from the federal government just got a lot easier thanks to a new federal website launched on October 1, 2012.

The federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public a way to request information from federal agencies. However, each agency has its own independent records system and its own procedures for handling requests for information. Therefore, each agency must be contacted separately, and when necessary, records are transferred manually between agencies causing lengthy delays for the requestor and additional work for the agencies. For someone requesting information, it is hard to know the proper procedure for … Read More

The Public Online Information Act

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Many of us are familiar with the Freedom of Information Act, also known as FOIA. In the age of the internet, having government agencies provide information following written requests is no longer sufficient. Representative Steve Israel has introduced new legislation called The Public Online Information Act.  POIA requires agencies within the Executive Branch to publish all public information on the internet in a timely manner and user friendly fashion.  POIA also creates a federal advisory committe  to help develop internet disclosure policies that would be effective throughout the government. Members of this committe would be selected from each branch of … Read More

Sunshine Week Analysis

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The 2009 annual Sunshine Week survey of government information available online is in and the results are interesting. Results were based on reviews of government web sites in every state to determine the availability of 20 different kinds of public records. The public record types researched include disciplinary actions against attorneys and doctors, inspection reports of bridges, schools, school buses, hospitals, nursing homes and child care centers, financial disclosure information including audits, project expenditures and campaign finance, as well as death certificates.

The survey found that death certificates were the least likely type of record to be found online and … Read More

New Presidency Could Mean More Transparency for Public Records

Now that all the glitter and excitement from the inauguration ceremony and balls has passed, it is time for our new President to get to work. In our trying times of war, global warming, and a bad economy, there is a lot of work to be done. Thus, it is interesting to watch what actions the new President will make first. President Obama has made it clear during his campaign that a transparency in government is an important issue to him. Well, in a move that made many public records advocates excited, one of President Obama’s first signings this week … Read More

Verify Your Teacher’s Credentials

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Teachers are responsible for our most valuable asset, our children. Although parents, guardians, mentors, and the like play a predominate role in influencing children, teachers are also a very significant part of their molding. In a classroom, children can begin to develop not just letters and numbers, but also their concept of morality, boundaries, consequences, justice, and more. As such, it is vital that we feel good about those entrusted to educate our children.

No doubt, the job of a teacher is a difficult and commendable career choice which is owed a great deal of respect. Nonetheless, it is almost … Read More

New Federal Register Site Provides Online Access To Documents!

With the housing crisis, banking crisis, unemployment crisis, and all the other general crisis that our country is facing, the government is constantly in a scramble to create new legislation to deal with the current mess. There is so much paper work, proposals, and legislation, that most of us everyday people don’t have a clue about half of what is going on. With the Freedom of Information Act, as citizens, we are granted the authority to make document requests of public documents. However, making such requests can often be time consuming, and even costly. Furthermore, if you don’t have the … Read More

Learn About The Candidates Through Public Records

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With two presidential debates and the one and only vice presidential debate complete, are you satisfied with the information provided by the candidates? It has been a truly long and historic campaign season, but there is still a lot to know before November 4th. As everyone is probably quite aware of at this point, the economy is in the dumps, billions of dollars are being spent on two wars, and the health care and educational systems are not up to the high standards worthy of a leading nation. So, this election could be one of the most important decisions of … Read More

New Website Encourages Participation in Legislation!

Now that the $700 Billion Economic Stabilization Act has officially been approved and signed by President Bush many people are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Yet, there is still a sense of unease about what this bill will do and what it means for everyone. As citizens and taxpayers, our dollars are part of the plan to help fix the economy, so we deserve to have a voice.

There are often bills approved by our government that could have a major impact on our wallets and our rights as US citizens. However, while we are fortunate enough to live … Read More