Transparency News, 11/8/2018



November 8, 2018


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state & local news stories


Jason Kessler and three white nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Wednesday against the city of Charlottesville and police officials alleging First and Fourteenth amendment violations. In addition to the City of Charlottesville, the suit names former Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas and Virginia State Police Lt. Becky Crannis-Curl as defendants. According to the suit, Kessler, white nationalist group Identity Evropa and the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and Traditional Worker Party claim the city and police officials did not do enough to protect their rights during last year’s deadly Unite the Right rally and actively prevented them from exercising their rights.d issued orders not to engage crowds at UTR, the suit claims they allowed a “heckler’s veto” — a legal term used in First Amendment cases when a complainant claims suppression of speech by the government because of possible violent reactions from hecklers.
The Daily Progress


national stories of interest

An attorney representing a Democratic group says West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office is “blatantly ignoring” a court order to turn over information regarding his communications with major drug companies. Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster had set a deadline for 5 p.m. Nov. 5 for Morrisey’s office to turn over documents between Morrisey’s office and lawyers representing drug companies named in various lawsuits regarding the companies’ role in the state’s opioid epidemic. Earlier on Nov. 5, Webster had set the 5 p.m. deadline for the office to turn over the documents. That followed a recommendation of Douglas Adkins, who was appointed to mediate the matter filed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Morrisey’s office asked for a 72-hour delay, but Webster refused that saying it was important for voters to have the information before the Nov. 6 election.
West Virginia Record

New Hampshire Rep. Neal Kurk isn't seeking another term in Concord, but New Hampshire voters gave him a farewell gift this year. They overwhelmingly approved Question 2 on the November ballot, which aims to protect Granite State residents' privacy rights. The measure amends the state constitution to say: "An individual's right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential and inherent." The goal is to ensure that governments get permission before snooping through citizens’ private social media accounts, internet search histories, emails and text messages. But state Rep. Timothy Smith, a Democrat who declined to reveal how he voted in the House's anonymous vote to pass the amendment, said many of his fellow lawmakers were afraid to oppose it for fear of appearing anti-privacy, and because they didn't expect it to pass. He had "serious reservations" about how it's written.



editorials & columns


Diversity is a terrible thing. Before dashing off an email criticizing me, I’m not talking diversity of race, gender or ethnicity, which I wholeheartedly support. I’m talking about diversity among public records laws. I’m leveraging three decades of experience at the intersection of media, law and government to unveil a long-held vision for unified open records legislation in every state. During a speech to the National Freedom of Information Coalition in Cincinnati last month I asked fellow advocates: “Aren’t we sick and tired of going to the same conferences year after year and telling and hearing the same stories about how government denies basic public records requests or takes years to respond?” It’s time to turn the fatigue of our complaints into a unified code.
Terry Mutchler, The Legal Intelligencer (via NFOIC)