Public Access Laws

News & Analysis as of

PAC FOIA Opinions Address “Unduly Burdensome” factor, Personal Privacy Exemption and Public Records

In three separate opinions rendered in November, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) of the Illinois Attorney General provided guidance regarding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the definition of “unduly burdensome,”...more

GAO Calls for Easier Public Access to SNF Expenditure Data

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report highlighting concerns with the public accessibility and reliability of skilled nursing facility (SNF) expenditure data collected by CMS. While CMS has posted...more

Court of Appeals Holds Email Deliberations Among a “Quorum" of a Public Body Violates the Open Meetings Act

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that email deliberations among a quorum of public body members violates the Open Meetings Act. The Nov. 1, 2016, unpublished opinion was issued by a three-judge panel in the case of...more

PAC Ruling Further Clarifies Impermissible Restrictions on Public Comment

One of the most legally perilous jobs of a school board is to preside over the public participation portion of a meeting. The key for a board is to balance its need to run efficient and orderly meetings with the ability of...more

Does Your Bank's Website Violate The ADA?

There has been a recent surge in claims brought by people with visual and hearing impairments alleging that company websites violate the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Until now, these...more

HHS Issues Final Rule that Expands the Requirements for Disclosure of Clinical Trial Data to ClinicalTrials.gov

On September 21, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule that greatly expands the information that sponsors of “applicable drug clinical trials” and “applicable device clinical trials”...more

Attorney General (PAC) Deems RIF Joint Committee for Teacher Placement Subject to OMA

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) division of the Attorney General’s Office recently held that the reduction in force joint committee (the “Joint Committee”) was subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA)....more

Governor Signs California “All Gender” Bathroom Bill

We posted before on AB 1732, which Governor Brown signed yesterday. This law prohibits businesses and government entities from labeling any “single-user toilet facility” as either “male” or “female.” It defines “single-user...more

New CA Law Requires Disclosing Known ADA Violations During Lease Negotiations

Seyfarth Synopsis: In yet another effort to reduce ADA lawsuits, California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law – effective immediately – legislation to encourage tenants and landlords to acknowledge and address any...more

2016 Legislative Update: Summary of Changes in School Law

BOARDS OF EDUCATION - ENFORCEMENT OF BINDING PUBLIC ACCESS COUNSELOR OPINIONS - Public Act 99-586 - Effective Date: January 1, 2017 - Individuals who file lawsuits to enforce binding opinions from the PAC...more

Informing Illinois Newsletter - August 2016

Is Your Police Department Ready for Body Cameras? - Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year. In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants...more

Changes to the Open Meetings Act Allow Inspection of Closed Session Records

Effective June 30, 2016, the Open Meetings Act (OMA) has been amended to allow elected board members, or those appointed to fill vacancies on the board, to access closed session recordings and minutes. Access must be granted...more

The writing's on the wall - Winterburn & another v. Bennett & another

In Winterburn & another v. Bennett & another [2016] EWCA Civ 482 the Court of Appeal held that signs clearly visible to all stating that a car park was private property defeated a claim by a neighbouring owner that it had...more

Owners and Developers Beware: Federal Law Preempts Your Remedies Against Design Professionals for ADA Violations

Recent years have seen a proliferation of lawsuits against building owners and businesses for violation of the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Not only restaurants, but also hotels,...more

West Coast Real Estate Update: May 2016 #1

IRS Reevaluates "Bad Boy" Carve-Outs - Before providing a non-recourse loan to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) – i.e., one for which the LLC members do not bear the risk of economic loss – a lender often will require...more

Surfers Break With Billionaire in Ongoing Battle Over Historic Coastal Property

At the conclusion of the Mexican-American War in 1848, the United States acquired California from Mexico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The Treaty promised to honor Spanish and Mexican land grants. While it is...more

Body-Worn Cameras, the Prosecutor, and the Question of Public Access

BB&K attorney Gary Schons examines police body cameras from a variety of angles for the California District Attorneys Association’s Prosecutor’s Brief. The use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officials and what...more

Amid Growing Concerns Over the Proliferation of ADA Lawsuits, Congress and the California Legislature Address Measures to Curb ADA...

Since 2004, more than 20,000 ADA lawsuits have been filed in the country’s federal courts. The number of ADA filings in state courts is unavailable, but likely runs in the thousands. Nearly one half of all ADA lawsuits were...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - State Water Project deliveries to cities and farms increased SFGate - Feb 24 With a bit more snow in the Sierra than in years past, California officials on Wednesday boosted the...more

Supreme Court Amendment Imposes Obligation on Practitioners to Review Certain Files for Non-Public Case Information

Through an order issued on January 29, 2016, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has made amendments to the Rhode Island Judiciary Rules of Practice Governing Public Access to Electronic Case Information (the “Public Access...more

Water and Land Part 2

Water and Land - In Part I, we discussed the lawsuit between the State of North Carolina and Alcoa which determined that Alcoa owns a 45 mile portion of the Yadkin River riverbed. State of North Carolina v. Alcoa Power...more

Appellate Court Affirms Circuit Court Reversal of PAC Opinion on OMA Violation

Last year, an Illinois Circuit Court overturned a Public Access Counselor opinion that found that the Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 violated the Open Meetings Act when it voted on the separation...more

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Attorney General Binding Opinions on Open Meetings Issues

In Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. Attorney General of Illinois et al., 2015 IL App (4th) 140941, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld a trial court's reversal of two Illinois Attorney General...more

PAC Finds FOIA Violation over Redactions in Governor Rauner’s Calendar

The PAC recently issued a binding opinion finding that the office of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner violated the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act by delaying its response to a FOIA request, and improperly...more

PAC Actions Offer Guidance on the Scope of the Unduly Burdensome Exception to FOIA

In October, the PAC released a written response to a FOIA request that it denied because it would be unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) of FOIA. 5 ILCS 140/3(g). The request asked for “Public Access Counselor determinations...more

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