Public Records

News & Analysis as of

Shining a Brighter Light on Massachusetts Public Records - HB 4333

If, as Justice Louis Brandeis famously said, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” Massachusetts public records have just received a substantial splash of bleach. On June 3, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed...more

Massachusetts Legislature Overhauls Public Records Law

Last week the Massachusetts Legislature adopted significant changes to the Massachusetts Public Records Law. These changes apply to all state agencies and municipalities and in theory are designed to improve the disclosure of...more

2016 Florida Legislative Post-Session Report

Carlton Fields’s Government Law and Consulting Practice Group released its 2016 Florida Legislative Post-Session Report detailing significant bills that passed during the 2016 Regular Session of the Florida...more

Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act Takes Effect

Employers Should Immediately Revise Confidentiality Agreements to Comply - The Defend Trade Secrets Act, signed into law by President Obama last week and effective immediately, provides a new federal remedy for trade...more

Economic Incentive Applications and Florida’s Public Records and Sunshine Law

If you are considering locating—or relocating—your business to Florida, and are interested in applying for an economic incentive, you should be aware of Florida’s Public Records and Sunshine Law, which provides that certain...more

Tax Law Blog: Prince's Estate Plan (or lack thereof)

News sources are reporting that court documents filed last week indicate Prince died intestate, meaning he did not have a will. His sister filed the paperwork, stating to her knowledge he did not have a will and requesting...more

Internal Investigative Reports That Lead to Discipline Are Not Exempt Adjudicatory Records under FOIA

An Illinois Appellate Court has further limited the public records that a public body can withhold from disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the Freedom of Information Act, which exempts “records relating to a public body’s...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

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – April 2016

Dear Legal Mailbag: I have been around the block, but yesterday a parent made a demand that is a new one for me. I had met with the parent to review the results of our bullying investigation about her son’s behavior...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – March 2016 #5

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly NewsBlast. Dear Legal Mailbag: As the principal of a large high school, I get a lot of letters. I have been around, and I know all about keeping legitimate items of...more

Illinois Appellate Court Sheds Light on When Records Are Not “Reasonably Accessible” On A Public Body’s Website Under FOIA

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was amended in December, 2014 to provide that a public body is not required to copy a public record that is published on the public body’s website. 5 ILCS 140/8.5. The exception...more

California Supreme Court Finds that a Public Agency Cannot Inadvertently Waive Attorney-Client and Work Product Privileges

Last year, I wrote about the Second Appellate District case of Ardon v. City of Los Angeles. In Ardon, the appellate court found that a public agency can waive statutory privileges that it otherwise would have if it produces...more

Florida Public Records Law and Government Contractors 2016 Legislature Makes Significant Changes

Chapter 119, Florida Statutes (“the Act”), requires that every “agency” make its records available for inspection and copying to any member of the public who makes a request. Either refusal to provide such access or an...more

To Force Government To Be Transparent, Go Directly to the Campaign Trail: Terry Mutchler

The Founding Fathers recognized the power of public records in a democracy. The Declaration of Independence decried government gamesmanship that kept public records away from citizens. Originally published on PennLive...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week - March 2016 #2

Dear Legal Mailbag: I have heard of the Freedom of Information Act; however, in my administrative preparation courses, the professors glossed over it and I never really understood the nuances of public records and the...more

Informing Illinois Newsletter - February 2016: Personal Documents Stored on a Government Computer System — Disclosable Under...

Personal Documents Stored on a Government Computer System — Disclosable Under Illinois' FOIA? Not all documents created or stored on a government computer system are subject to disclosure under Illinois' Freedom of...more

Postcard Reminders: Routine Communication or Invasion of Privacy?

The Kansas Department of Children and Family (DCF) has come under scrutiny for sending postcard reminders to individuals obligated to pay monthly child support, rather than mailing reminders in a sealed envelope. While the...more

Eight District Attorneys in Oklahoma sued for wrongfully disclosing personal information in court filings

Generally, court filings are public records unless sealed from public access by a judge. Vast amounts of personal information contained in public records can be, and are, accessed by criminals in order to obtain personal...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Kicks Open Records Case to the Curb

When Rebecca Bradley was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in October, the question arose what role she would play in cases argued this term before her appointment. Specifically, if the Court were otherwise split 3-3...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week

Dear Legal Mailbag: I don’t always exercise the best judgment when writing emails, and I have a lamentable tendency to respond in haste and repent at leisure. However, I think that I have come up with a great way to...more

New California Laws Impacting Public Agencies

This comprehensive round-up includes new legislation that will impact cities, counties, special districts and schools. There were many bills passed by California lawmakers this year that will impact municipalities and...more

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – December 4, 2015

Dear Legal Mailbag: I was surprised the other day to receive a grievance from one of my teachers. This fellow is constantly complaining about this and that, and so I was not surprised that he would file a grievance....more

Settlement Agreements with Students Are Protected Student Records But Must Be Disclosed in Redacted Form Under Public Records Law,...

What is the responsibility of a public educational institution when it receives a public records request for material that it believes it must keep private under state and federal student records laws?...more

FOIA is FUN: Somewhat Recent Reminders from the Freedom Of Information Commission

Although it is known as the “Sunshine Law,” the idea of summer fun is usually not synonymous with the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”]. Nevertheless, as we lament the passing of time (and loss of daylight), Connecticut’s...more

California Court: School Districts Cannot Prevent Posting of Videos of Open Board Meetings

Our friends over at the EdLawConnectBlog in California published a blog about an interesting case from the Golden State that school leaders from across the country may find interesting. The case addressed whether school...more

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