Transparency News, 1/14/2022


January 14, 2022

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state & local news stories


VCOG's annual
bill chart


An emergency declaration was added to Staunton City Council's regular session that would allow members to attend virtually. Did it pass? No. Virginia FOIA law requires a minimum of four council members, called a quorum, to be "physically present" at city council meetings in order to conduct any city business. Unless city council declares a local emergency. Each governing body has the ability to make this declaration, according to Staunton's city attorney. This makes it safer for Staunton's many boards and commissions where several members have been unable to attend due to the risk of getting COVID. Prior to the vote whether to declare the emergency and allow council members to meet virtually, Staunton had a very special guest and he happens to know a lot about the pandemic.
News Leader

stories of national interest

The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition sent Freedom of Access Act requests to 135 law enforcement agencies across Maine last year, seeking records of people’s complaints and disciplinary letters over five years. After receiving the request for records, some departments presented the coalition with an abundance of disciplinary records, while others offered only basic information that lacked identifiable details. One in five did not respond, despite being required to do so under Maine’s public access law.
Sun Journal

A government watchdog group is demanding information about the actions of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci in the early days of the pandemic. Judicial Watch has filed a complaint after a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) went unacknowledged. The group is demanding the calendar entries made by Fauci, who also serves as the chief medical adviser to President Biden.
Fox News


editorials & columns


Sadly, we understand the Freedom Of Information Act isn’t called the “Free Information Act.” And whether or not the public’s access to vital information should be more affordable is for another editorial on another day (here’s a hint: It most definitely should be), a Virginia delegate’s bill simply makes it harder and more expensive. Del. Paul Krizek, a Democrat from Fairfax, filed a bill that would require all public records requests in the state to be mailed by certified mail. Let’s be frank, this adds more burden on the public that has a right to that information and, to be ever more frank, it is just dumb.
Daily News Record