Category Archives: FOIA


Military Records

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Military records can be useful for veterans, future employers, and can even be helpful resources for genealogy searches. One of the most important military records is called the DD214. This record is one that is officially recognized as proof of military service. The DD214 is the official discharge document for the US Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corp, and Coast Guard.

Military personnel records are not available for view online, as a federal law requires that these record requests be made in writing. Although the actual record is not available to view online, there is a downloadable form that you … Read More

Changes to New York’s Freedom of Information Law

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Many of us are familiar with FOIA – the Freedom of Information Act which provides the general public with the right to access federal agency records or information. States have created their own FOIA laws and provisions and New York’s, known as the Freedom of Information Law, has recently been amended per legislation signed by New York Governor Paterson effective August 7, 2008. FOIA provisions generally require that an agency can charge a maximum of 25cents per photocopy when records are made available or the actual cost of those records that cannot be copied. Agencies reported financial hardships with the … Read More

Driving Records

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In today’s information age, we place a high value on the ability to access information. For this privilege, we can largely thank the Freedom of Information Act. This Act mandates that certain types of information and records be reasonably accessible. This allows us to check on the happenings of not only ourselves, but also of our government leaders, employers, business owners, and even neighbors. Among the records viewable are driving records.

A driving record includes the driving history of the person named on the record. This includes any speeding tickets, DUIs, or other moving violations. Viewing a person’s driving history … Read More

Voter Registration and Election Records

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Are you registered to vote? Who’s running for what office? Where do you go cast your ballot, and when? These are all important questions in the democratic process of voting and elections. The United States grants every citizen over the age of 18 the right to vote. Thanks to laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we also have the right to view records and other information related to the election process.

Voter registration records will typically contain information that you provided when you registered to vote. This information can include address, name, and date of birth. Voter … Read More

Two Big FOIA Rulings Made By The Michigan Supreme Court

This month the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on two issues that could have a serious influence on the rights provided through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). As with most FOIA cases, the issues of privacy vs. access to information engaged in battle. In this round, it appears the privacy won. Many have called these decisions a “blow to the FOIA.

Both decisions involved public universities. The first decision involved state employee contact information. A case brought against the University of Michigan by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan for being refused access to certain employee information. In that … Read More

Pennsylvania Government Contracts Database Launched

This week brought the much anticipated launch of Pennsylvania’s government contract database. On February 14, 2008, Pennsylvania’s governor signed into a Right-to-Know-Law that effectively expanded the type of information available to the general public addressed access to this information. In a posting from February, I discussed this new law, and the promises the government made behind it. Well, the new online database is one product of this new law, which is a big step forward for the Pennsylvania government, showing they are trying to make good on their promises.

The database, also known as the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library will be … Read More

Bush Administration Changes Open Government Act

On January 22nd, this blog reported on President Bush’s signing of the Open Government Act. One of the features of this Act was to create a Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administration to oversee government compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.

Senator Patrick Leahy and other government advocates are protesting President Bush’s budget proposal that repeals placing this office in the National Archives and instead places it  under the control of  the Justice Department. Critics say this is a conflict of interest in that the Justice Department would also be charged with defending … Read More

Removing Personal Information From Public Records

We here at the Free Public Records Directory are sometimes contacted about removing personal information from public records. It seems a good idea to cover this idea on a broader basis. Neither our site, nor any other directory of public links, has the ability to remove information from public record files. Public records are generated in numerous ways – from buying a house, registering to vote, having a phone listing, to filing business records. These records are generated and then stored in a number of places – county auditor offices, recorders offices, secretary of state files, directories and many other … Read More

President Bush Signs Open Government Act

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On the last day of 2007, President Bush signed the Open Government Act of 2007. This Act amends the Freedom of Information Act and puts in place a tracking system so that both citizens and the media can determine the status of their FOIA requests, if such request will take longer than ten days to process. This bill also establishes an Office of Government Information Services within the National Archives and Records Administrationto to review compliance with FOIA policies, recommend policy changes and offer mediation services between FOIA requestors and administrative agencies. This new law also adds a provision … Read More