Transparency News 6/5/18



June 5, 2018


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state & local news stories


"The free Virginia History Trails app has 20 themes, more than 400 stories and 200 detailed site descriptions."

State lawmakers navigating a thorny dispute between prosecutors overwhelmed by the growing volume of police-worn body camera footage and localities reluctant to pay for more lawyers have pumped the brakes on prescribing a solution. They’ve opted instead to study the matter, after punting on a proposal from state Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, which would require any locality buying body cameras for patrol officers to hire one additional entry-level assistant commonwealth’s attorney for every 50 body cameras deployed. The compromise comes after localities neck-deep in budget season balked and some prosecutors clashed over whether and how to examine the footage.
Richmond Times-Dispatch (subscription required)

The state of Virginia has taken its broad, extensive history and condensed it to fit in the palm of your hand.  Yes, there’s now an app for hundreds of years of women’s accomplishments, military conflicts and sites, and Native American and African American stories that were made in the commonwealth. The state recently released the “Virginia History Trails” mobile application in time for travel season. The free app has 20 themes, more than 400 stories and 200 detailed site descriptions. Users can plan trips based on region or topic, or simply walk down a street and read the story behind a noteworthy building, a church or person who once lived nearby.
The Virginian-Pilot

Following a community forum at the Jefferson School City Center in April and a public hearing last month that coincided with its approval to hire incoming police Chief RaShall Brackney, the Charlottesville City Council on Monday announced its appointments to a new community board that will strive to ensure local police are accountable to the public. The exclusion of two high-profile activists drew the ire of about a dozen people who spoke at the meeting. The dissent led to a prolonged council discussion about how it arrived at its appointments.
The Daily Progress


stories of national interest

BuzzFeed scored a significant legal victory on Monday with a judge’s ruling that the online outlet appears to have legal protection for its decision to publish the so-called dossier about President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia. Ruling in a libel suit brought by a Russian internet entrepreneur named in the document, U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, based in Miami, ruled on Monday that BuzzFeed could claim the “fair report privilege” for its brief article and the accompanying release of the dossier online in January 2017.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday afternoon announced he had vetoed three bills passed in the 2018 legislative session that ended last month, including one that would have placed autopsy reports on children off limits to the public except under limited circumstances. Senate Bill 223 was brought to the General Assembly by El Paso County Coroner Robert Bux and the state organization of county coroners, who were concerned that releasing details of autopsy reports on minors would violate a family’s right to privacy. But news organizations, including the Colorado Press Association and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, argued that cutting off public access to the reports could make it harder to uncover deaths caused by abuse.
The Durango Herald