Why a judge's decision exempting the judiciary from FOIA matters

A judge in Richmond decided in October 2018 that Virginia’s judiciary was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Here's why that matters.

VCOG: Why you need us, and why we need you

Government accountability doesn't end on election day. Stay engaged by supporting open government and open government organizations (like VCOG!).

Thinking of the Old Dominion in New England

There was much to remind me of Virginia in New Hampshire. And even more to leave me wondering.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you must

Public bodies often use secretive processes to hire a chief administrator, also known as a manager, executive or superintendent. It doesn't have to be that way.

Private texts? Not if they're about public business

How the record was created, how it was delivered, how it was sent, whose equipment was used (and even whether it was a final report or a draft one), none of that matters when it comes to determining what a public record is.

Showing up for open government for 20+ years

This commentary by VCOG Executive Director Megan Rhyne originally appeared in the June 28, 2018, issue of The Roanoke Times.

When Frosty Landon, the former editor of this newspaper and the first director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government (VCOG), first took me under his wing as an assistant back at the turn of the century, he shared with me a simple but powerful bit of advice about advocacy: Show up.

This dog won't hunt

You don't have to have a dog in the hunt to be ticked by this story

This story should really bother you. It should bother you, not because you know any of the people involved, the city or the situation that prompted it. It should bother you on principle: A court order was secured to prohibit public disclosure of information because a citizen who frequently disagrees with city council decisions had requested it under FOIA.

ICYMI: when FOIA, archiving, former governors and budget cuts collide

Want records from past governors? Get ready to wait. 

by Robert Zullo, Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 31, 2018

Community journalism essential to transparency

by Jeff Lester

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

Before he became a Supreme Court justice, Louis Brandeis wrote those words more than a century ago in a Harper’s Weekly article on the need to uncover corruption in the nation’s financial system.
Since then, advocates for open government have invoked the metaphor of sunshine. We say “sunshine laws” as shorthand for freedom of information’s legal protections. We celebrate freedom of information efforts during Sunshine Week.


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