Current Headlines

VCOG names 2009 FOI award winners

Christiansburg resident Carol Lindstrom is the winner of VCOG's 2009 citizen FOI award. Mike Owens of the Bristol Herald Courier is the winner in the media category, while the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County will share the award in the government category. To learn more, check out the full story in our blog.

Citizens behaving badly?

Citizens who violate a conduct policy could be barred from attending future Appomattox Town Council meetings. At least that is what Council member Karl Carter would like to see happen. The concerns stem over alleged conduct problems during and after Council's Sept. 14 meeting. Read the article here, and a related column (criticizing Carter's criticism) here.

Twitter feed

We're posting great stories, articles and editorials about access, FOIA and the First Amendment every day on Twitter. You can also check our feed for recent news of VCOG's work, including our upcoming conference. Click here for the opengovva Twitter feed.

Cheney interview must be released A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to release records of interviews with former Vice President Dick Cheney conducted during its investigation into the Valerie Plame leak. Judge Emmet Sullivan rejected the DOJ's argument that releasing the interviews would have a chilling effect on future investigations involving White House officials.

Clerks' offices under the budget axe

Virginian-Pilot editorial: If you are buying or selling property, starting a business, getting married or divorced, filing a will, fighting a felony, leaving the military, involved in a lawsuit or simply need a fishing or hunting license, the latest budget cuts affect you.

Oklahoma City bombing tapes

The FBI has released long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. The soundless recordings show people rushing from nearby buildings after the fertilizer bomb went off. They don't show the actual explosion outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The tapes were obtained by an attorney and provided to The (Oklahoma City) Oklahoman, the newspaper reported Sunday. CNN story here.

What about thinking caps? article: An attorney does not have a constitutional right to wear jeans and a hat -- specifically, an Operation Desert Storm baseball cap -- while appearing in state court, a New York federal judge has ruled. Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled that the court's dress code merely enforced "commonly shared mores of courtroom civility," and did not encroach upon the First and 14th amendments.

FOIA Council agendas

The agenda for the FOI Advisory Council's full meeting at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21 is online here. Also included is the agenda for the Council's subcommittee on Personal Identifying Information, which meets the same day at 9:30.

McBurney v. Mims update

In the challenge to citizenship limitation in Virginia's FOIA, the opening brief is due to the 4th Circuit on 9/21. Response brief is due 10/21. And a reply brief is due within 14 days of the response brief.

Texas meetings law still stands

The Reporters Committee reports that the Texas Open Meetings Act remains good law after withstanding a constitutional challenge by former city council members who asserted the law violated their rights to exchange e-mail messages discussing city business in secret. After four years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Dallas (5th Cir.) dismissed the case today as moot. Although both Alpine, Texas, councilors' terms had ended, Avinash Rangra remained an active plaintiff in the case.


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