Shelley Kimball's blog

Time should be on your side

By Shelley Kimball

Time. In the world of public records requests, this can be an obstacle both to the requester and the records custodian.

And this is not just an issue in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Tracking legislation at the General Assembly

By Megan Rhyne


(This is the second in a two-part series on tracking proposed legislation. Read the first part here.)


How to watch the General Assembly in action

By Megan Rhyne

(This is the first in a two-part series on tracking proposed legislation. Find the second part here.)

Digital tools for managing FOIA requests

By Jeff South

Overcoming recalcitrant bureaucrats isn’t the only challenge for people who seek public documents or data under the Freedom of Information Act.

Another challenge is managing your paperwork: crafting and filing your FOIA requests and tracking responses.

Fortunately, a bevy of online tools is available to help you with those tasks. Here is a tour of such resources, building on a presentation I gave at VCOG’s Pop-Up Sunshine event in March.

Strategies for finding and using public information

By Dave Ress

For the record (as we like to say).

We call it the Freedom of Information Act in Virginia, but it’s good to remember that it’s about information that’s in a public record or revealed in a public meeting.

One thing that can really help get information, as Cherise Newsome points out in her excellent post, is talking to the FOIA compliance officer about what you’re trying to find out.

Nuisance requests an obstacle to access to public information

By Shelley Kimball

There are certain kinds of requests for records that access professionals hate so much they wish they could find ways to outlaw them. Requests that frustrate them so much they wish they didn’t have to respond to them. Let’s call them nuisance requests.

A view from both sides of a FOIA request

Truth in the Field

By Cherise Newsome

There are two sides to every FOIA request. I’ve seen them both.

As the public information officer for Portsmouth Public Schools, I serve as our FOIA compliance officer. Therefore, I manage the requests that come into the school division. I’ve been here about six months, and I’ve logged more than 50 requests of various complexity.

Trade secrets exemptions discussion open to public

Join in the discussion with Virginia's Freedom of Information Advisory Council to determine how to define which business records may be blocked from public access. The meeting, which is open to all, is Monday, May 15, in the Virginia State Capitol.

Responding to denials to public records requests

Anyone who has requested public records regulalry has faced denials from government offices. An open government activist discusses how best to manage and respond to denials.

Education privacy law used as excuse to used to conceal records

Education privacy laws, while intended as protections for students' records, are being used by institutions to conceal wrongdoing and mismanagement.


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