FOI Blog

Using Virginia's Freedom of Information Act

In the latest installment of Truth in the Field, a veteran journalist explains the basics of how to use Virginina's Freedom of Information Act and where to go for help

Put government spending information online

Being able to find information online is becoming the default expectation. Government spending should be no different.

Truth in the Field debut

Shelley Kimball

Welcome to VCOG new blog, Truth in the Field, a series of columns that explain how journalists, citizens, academics, and activists have accessed and used government information.

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes.
Last year, a Senate subcommittee on FOIA advanced one bill after another that restricted the public’s access to government information. It recommended a bill to exempt police names, one to limit which state salaries could be released and in what format, and one that created a month-long procedural requirement where the government would ask private businesses if it was OK to release records.
This year?

2016 open government award winners

The Virginia Coalition for Open Government is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016 open government awards. The awards are given to individuals or organizations who have made use of public information laws to keep government accountable and to inform their fellow citizens.

A FOIA story

I don’t usually repost full copies of news stories, but this one is especially noteworthy as a snapshot of how FOIA transactions can unspool. This is a reporter trying to get a state agency report, but the same back and forth, same push and pull, can be experienced by requesters at all levels of government and all corners of the state. Even when the law or an exemption is used correctly, it is still often difficult to follow the process and understand why confidentiality is needed when it isn’t mandated.

VCOG submits joint letter on WMATA oversight commission

VCOG has submitted a letter -- co-signed with the DC Open Government Coalition and the Maryland-Deleware-DC Press Association -- urging lawmakers in each jurisdiction to include specific transparency measures in their proposals to create the Metrorail Safety Commission for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to oversee the Metro system.

Read the letter here:

Rhyne a guest on This Week in Richmond

VCOG's executive director, Megan Rhyne, was a guest on the June 10, 2016, edition of This Week in Richmond, hosted by David Bailey.

FOIA shouldn't be us vs. them

This article originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Friday, March 18, 2016

Rhyne: FOIA requests shouldn't pit government against the public

Here’s a two-question test for you:

Question 1: Are government employees and public officials (a) always trying to hide something, or (b) of the purest hearts and noblest of actions?

Question 2: Is the “public” (a) always trying to stir up trouble, or (b) of the purest hearts and noblest of actions?