Transparency News, 1/25/21


 January 25, 2021
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state & local news stories

On Monday, the Richmond City Council will consider an ordinance that would make part of the city’s annual budget process more democratic, allowing residents to choose projects they want the city to fund. A City Council committee voted last week to recommend the creation of a public commission for the initiative, known as “participatory budgeting,” more than a year after unanimously passing a resolution in support of the concept. As envisioned in the 2019 resolution, the city would allocate $3 million for the program annually. Volunteer “budget delegates” in each of the city’s nine voting districts would solicit and develop ideas with residents. The volunteers would then oversee local votes to decide on community-driven projects for each district.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
stories from around the country
Top officials at the Michigan State Police have been using text messaging encryption devices that can put their internal communications out of the reach of the Freedom of Information Act and legal discovery, according to admissions the MSP made in a civil lawsuit. Among those who have downloaded the "end-to-end" encryption applications onto their state-issued phones are a lieutenant-colonel, two majors and two first lieutenants, according to court records obtained by the Free Press. The use by top MSP officials of the encryption devices — under which text messages, once deleted, can leave no record on either the phone or the state of Michigan server — was disclosed recently in a federal lawsuit brought against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Col. Joseph Gasper, who is the director of the department, and the MSP.