OPEN GOVERNMENT – Venice Congresswoman Jane Harman's Reducing Overclassification Act, which aims to curb the excessive secrecy labeling of intelligence materials, passed the House and Senate Monday and will now be sent to President Obama for his signature.
PUBLIC INFORMATION – A bill allowing the families of murdered children to request that the autopsy reports be sealed was signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Monday, but these reports are already treated as confidential.
PUBLIC INFORMATION – The City of Alameda has beeen sued for failing to respond to a Public Records Act request that sought e-mail messages pertaining to a contract with a real estate developer; the city's policy is that all e-mails are exempt as "drafts" until they are periodically and routinely destroyed on a wholesale basis.
OPEN GOVERNMENT– Politicians are well-known for grand campaign promises that are quickly forgotten once elections are over. Californians Aware’s General Counsel Terry Francke says there are ten promises a candidate could make that could give him or her an edge over competitors—no matter what the office or the other issues may be.
OPEN GOVERNMENT – A bill aiming to increase government transparency by requiring key financial information of state and local agencies to be posted in a central location on the Internet was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Saturday—with something like a "been there, done that" rationale.
OPEN GOVERNMENT – A bill aimed at increasing accountability for university auxiliary organizations has gathered a wide base of support as it sits on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk—and supporters include the father of the California Public Records Act (CPRA) himself.
OPEN GOVERNMENT – The Service Employees International Union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) due to a “lack of transparency” within the organization, which was recently made subject to the state's sunshine laws.
FREE SPEECH – A former public university president who summarily expelled a student without notice in retaliation for his criticism will be held personally liable in damages for violating the student’s due-process rights, a federal court has ruled in an unprecedented decision.
WHISTLEBLOWERS – The California Court of Appeal affirmed Tuesday that a fired City of San Diego employee is not protected under a state law that shields whistleblowers from employer retaliation—because the conduct by a fellow employee that he reported had not violated any law.
OPEN GOVERNMENT – Federal judges are allowed to censor their financial disclosures showing which companies they or their spouses hold stock in before they are released to the public, the Associated Press reported today.
FREE SPEECH – A lawsuit challenging the Los Angeles Community College District’s sexual harassment policy, alleging violations of the First Amendment, was dismissed by the U.S. Court of Appeals Friday, because the student bringing the case to court failed to show how anything he said or did could have triggered sanctions under the policy.
PUBLIC INFORMATION – Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is refusing to release details about high-risk areas of its pipeline system due to security concerns, the Bay Citizenreported last week. But the Sacramento Beereported Sunday that large gas mains underlie several neighborhoods in the state capital "like shadow interstates," including its downtown.
Update: The company, bending to public pressure, has disclosed 100 of its highest-risk pipeline locations.
OPEN COURTS – An attorney for former California Highway Patrol officer Ruben Salgado has requested a closed preliminary hearing for his client, who is accused of arranging a murder-for-hire transaction.
PUBLIC INFORMATION – Four historians’ organizations have filed a petition with a U.S. District Court to unseal the transcript of former U.S. President Richard Nixon’s testimony before a federal grand jury in 1975, taken through interviews at his San Clemente residence.
PUBLIC INFORMATION – An elementary school principal in Morgan Hill announced his resignation Tuesday after his school district's response to a Public Records Act request revealed at least 11 valid complaints against him in the past two years, reports the Morgan Hill Times.
OPEN GOVERNMENT – A San Bernardino County supervisor has postponed presenting his proposed sunshine ordinance for a vote by his colleagues until he can remove remaining language that would cost him support.