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D.C. body-cam access aired on Newseum TV

D.C. is at forefront of national debate over need to protect public access with sensitivity to crime victims' privacy concerns.

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Coalition updates nationwide body cam access report

Find out how states, cities are addressing thorny issues of collection, retention and public access.

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Coalition's first amicus brief tests Council exemption claim

Superior Court ruling would create 'FOIA black hole' from which Council records might never escape.

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 10:02pm

The costs and burdens of allowing public access to charter school records in the District of Columbia seemed exaggerated in a Washington Post "Local Opinion" piece by Lis Kidder earlier this month. Her projections were far-fetched (and her sources unexplained). I wrote the letter below from my own experience.

To the Editors:

In my 20 years as an attorney in D.C. nonprofits making hundreds of FOIA requests I have never seen facts  matching those in the account by Lis Kidder (“How to make charter schools hire lawyers instead of teachers,” May 12, 2019).

Posted on Friday, May 10, 2019 - 2:30am

Changes to the D.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to narrow records available and make them harder to get are on the D.C. Council agenda May 14, slipped by the chairman into a budget bill. Fortunately, the proposals--never discussed with stakeholders or aired in a hearing--face a major backlash from other Council members and the community. Good background is available from Martin Austermuhle at WAMU, Peter Jamison at Washington Post and in a letter by the ACLU of D.C. to the D.C. Council. (See link below.) The D.C. Open Government Coalition letter went to the Council Friday (10) as well. Linked below also.

Meanwhile,  it’s always good to take note of how access to public records is helpful to the public and the press. Here are examples in recent weeks: