foi access UT

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Information about foi access UT
Education

Published on April 24, 2008

Author: Dante

Source: authorstream.com

Unlocking government Freedom of Information:  Unlocking government Freedom of Information Joel Campbell Brigham Young University Unlocking government Freedom of Information:  Unlocking government Freedom of Information Charles Davis and Joel Campbell Society of Professional Journalists Freedom of Information Committee co-chairs Freedom of Information:  Freedom of Information U.S. Constitution Court hearing and record access U.S. Freedom of Information Act (records) U.S. Government in the Sunshine Act (meetings) Utah Government Records Access and Management Act Utah Open Meetings Act Slide4:  Atlanta Journal-Constitution Data: Driving and criminal records obtained under Georgia Open Records Laws. Findings: Seventy-two percent of the drivers had a serious violation on his or her personal or professional driving record, ranging from excessive speed to DUI. In the past seven years, 622 taxicab drivers have had their licenses suspended, including 94 who currently have a suspended driver's license. What's more, the investigation found 63 taxicab drivers with criminal records in Georgia, including 10 who had spent time in prison. The charges included armed robbery, child molestation and kidnapping. Slide5:  The Boston Globe Data: Inventory of Bridges from the Federal Highway Administration. Findings: The Globe found that the rate of problem bridges - with structural defects or with design flaws that make them too narrow, poorly aligned with roadways or unable to carry larger vehicles - is the third worst in the country. Nearly 40 percent of the 4,995 bridges in Massachusetts rate low enough to qualify for federal repair funds - a situation that state officials said posed a threat to public safety and the economy. Slide6:  CNN.com Data :Federal Aviation Administration Enforcement database. Findings: CNN.com found that the three airports where the terrorist attacks originated had the first, third and fourth lowest weapons detection rates among the 25 largest U.S. airports. Slide7:  The Washington Post Data: Post database built from death certificates, police reports, autopsies, caseworker notes, hospital records and internal death summaries. Findings: 40 boys and girls, most of them infants and toddlers – lost their lives after government workers failed to take key preventive action or placed children in unsafe homes or institutions. Although 15 of the 40 deaths were ruled to be due to natural causes, government officials reviewing those cases found numerous critical errors. Seventeen of the deaths were homicides, most of them in homes. Public records for every day:  Public records for every day Police reports School teacher disciplinary records Voter registration records Professional licenses Audit reports Correspondence Incorporation records Stories using FOI laws:  Stories using FOI laws Salaries of coaches and leading elected officials Olympic bribery scandal investigation Campaign contributors to politicians Stories showing how soldiers were sprayed with biological agents at Dugway Proving Ground Effects on “downwinders” from above ground nuclear tests Stories citing FOI abuse:  Stories citing FOI abuse Secret meetings between BLM and Kane County officials Secretive process to choose college presidents, city managers Alcohol Beverage Control Commission’s use of secret phone meetings Closed caucuses at the Utah Legislature Five stories you can start today:  Five stories you can start today Bus drivers and driving records Out-of-court settlements Budgets Local crime statistics Salaries See Handout 5 Courtroom access:  Courtroom access The U.S. Supreme Court has held the press and public have a constitutional right to attend criminal trials and pretrial proceedings and cannot be closed unless the court find it is necessary to preserve higher values such as a defendant’s right to a free trial. Closing courtrooms:  Closing courtrooms If a trial is be closed, the defendant must prove: Defendant’s right to a fair trial would be prejudiced. Alternatives wouldn’t protect right to a fair trial. Show it would be effective in creating prejudice. Show why alternatives would be effective. Access to places:  Access to places No constitutionally protected right of access to jails and prisons No protection to accompany police on “no knock” searches Access to public streets and public places Access to some parts of public buildings U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemptions:  U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemptions National security Internal agency personnel rules Information exempted by dozens of federal laws already on the books – “Catch-all exemption Trade secrets and confidential commercial information Internal agency memoranda and policy decisions Law enforcement investigations Federally regulated banks Oil and gas wells Personal privacy – The Privacy Act GRAMA request process:  GRAMA request process Find the record keeper Finesse a request Make a written request Wait for a response Appeal to the head of an agency State records committee or court Court Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) :  Utah Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) All records are considered public unless otherwise specified If public interest outweighs private interest the record may be disclosed Right to inspect records free of charge Government cannot use form of record to restrict access. No use test No expertise test GRAMA request process:  GRAMA request process Find the record keeper Finesse a request Make a written request Wait for a response Appeal to the head of an agency State records committee or court Court GRAMA request concepts:  GRAMA request concepts Not held by state, check local ordinances 10 days for normal response 5 days for expedited response involving “public interest” Request for fee waiver for “public interest” Journalists preparing a story for air or publication considered acting in “public interest” Five categories of records:  Five categories of records Public – Salaries of public officials -Public Tier II – police records Private – Medical and welfare records Controlled – Adoption records Protected – Trade secrets Limited – Catch-all exemption Utah Open Meetings Act keys:  Utah Open Meetings Act keys A quorum must be present Notice must be made 24 hours in advance Meetings must be closed by 2/3 vote Agenda must be posted or mailed Minutes must be taken and are public documents Open Meetings Act keys:  Open Meetings Act keys Detailed written minutes or recordings must be kept of closed sessions except discussions of character and security Sworn statement needed after character and security discussions No penalties – rehearing in public cures violation Eight reasons to close a meeting:  Eight reasons to close a meeting Discussion of character, professional competence or physical or mental health of an individual Strategy sessions for collective bargaining Strategy sessions for “imminent” litigation Strategy sessions to discuss the purchase, exchange, or lease of real property when public discussion of the transaction would disclose the appraisal or estimated value of the property under consideration or prevent the public body from completing the transaction on the best possible terms. Eight reasons to close a meeting:  Eight reasons to close a meeting Strategy sessions to discuss the sale of real property when: value would be disclosed, notice of sale had been given, terms of sale are disclosed Security discussions Investigations of criminal misconduct Discussion of “commercial information” for property tax appeals Open meetings red flags:  Open meetings red flags Stealth agenda Approving closed meetings for future non-specific times Closure for “personnel” reasons Social events No vote to close a meeting Phone meetings Retreats Attorney-client privilege Closed interviews to replace a member of a body Help is a click or call away:  Help is a click or call away Utah FOI Hotline, Jeff Hunt 801-532-7840 or 1-800-574-4546 SPJ – Open Doors www.spj.org Alison Hess, Utah SPJ Sunshine Chair, 801- 626.7499 Joel Campbell, 801-422-2125 Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 800-336-4243 or www.rcfp.org Student Press Law Center www.splc.org

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