Blog Posts

    Coalition Announces “Digging into DC” Trainings: July 20 Initial Session to Focus on Education

    June 14, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Want to know how much DC spends on your child’s school? Worried about staffing cuts? Interested in the health and safety conditions of school facilities? We’re excited to bring together transparency advocates for the first in a series of “Digging into DC” trainings to help you try to find almost anything you’ve ever wanted to […]

    Still Crickets on Our Request for Data on Covid in Schools and Daycares, and Watch This Space for Plans for Open Gov Training

    June 1, 2021, by Sandra Moscoso

    This piece was written by DCOGC Board Member Sandra Moscoso and edited by Board Member Miranda Spivack. This post is part of a series that will become a case study in the upcoming D.C. Open Government Coalition’s open government education and training program. We are planning to hold our first session on Zoom will be […]

    Coalition Again Urges D.C. Council to Allow Public Access for Press and Research While Sealing Eviction Records Against High-Tech Misuse

    May 24, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Court data show only 1 in 20 D.C. eviction lawsuits actually results in eviction and the average owed is $1200, according to Georgetown researchers Brian McCabe and Eva Rosen. For landlords, easy access to the D.C. Landlord-Tenant Court means a lawsuit can serve as a cheap debt-collection tool, a procedural nightmare visited on a tenant […]

    Public Comments Support Expanded Online Access to Records at D.C. Court of Appeals

    May 11, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Recently the D.C. Open Government Coalition hoped to review an appeal in progress in D.C.’s highest court, to weigh possible assistance with a friend-of-the-court brief. No button in the online list of pending cases allowed clicking to read or download the briefs electronically, unlike in D.C. Superior Court or federal courts elsewhere in town. Impossible […]

    Coalition Presses D.C. Legislature for FOIA Improvement in Oversight Hearings

    April 15, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Three Council committees heard Coalition testimony during the annual hearings on agency performance this year in February and March.  The Coalition discussed familiar themes: ending over-redaction by the Metropolitan Police Department of body-worn camera video and releasing files on complaints and discipline; ending years of secret opinions by judges at the Office of Administrative Hearings […]

    Coalition Urges Appeals Court to Open Full Online Access to Records

    April 13, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    With court papers now required to be filed electronically in both D.C. courts, and large majorities of people everywhere using the internet according to data from the Pew Research Center, the D.C. Court of Appeals is hearing from the public about online access to its files. At present only the docket—a list of events in […]

    D.C. Council Considers Automatic Sealing of Some Criminal Court Records: Going Too Far (And Likely Ineffective)?

    April 12, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The U.S. Supreme Court once held that “a mandatory rule [denying public access to a class of court matters], requiring no particularized determinations in individual cases, is unconstitutional,” yet that was precisely the proposal advocated by every witness (but one) in the D.C. Council hearing April 8 on sealing criminal records in D.C. Superior Court. […]

    Useful Summary of Open Government Rights – New from D.C. Office of Open Government

    April 11, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Published April 7 from the central D.C. government office watching out for open meetings and FOIA, see this handy “open government bill of rights.” Text seems generally correct. But note: Both “open” and “right to be present” have a new meaning as long as the public health emergency lasts (currently until May 20, 2021). Meetings […]

    Police Reform Commission Backs Open Discipline Records Plus Improved Access to Body Cam Video

    April 2, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C Police Reform Commission final report issued Thursday (1) recommends major improvements in police transparency as part of its 90-point program. These include Coalition priorities on improved video releases from police body worn cameras and public access to records of police discipline.   The 259-page report covers broad ground, emphasizing not piecemeal patches but calling […]

    D.C. Open Government Coalition Sunshine Week Summit Now Available for Viewing

    March 26, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Watch the Coalition’s Sunshine Week program here. Dive in and you can catch Council member Brooke Pinto (D-Ward 2) describing the police chief’s new FOIA exemption–“it’s secret because we’re being sued”–justifying his agency’s closely held report on last summer’s Swann Street mass arrests (the Coalition has its own FOIA request in for that report); Council […]