Blog Posts

    D.C. Council Should Reject Medical Examiner Secrecy Proposal: Says Open Government Coalition

    November 3, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Records of death investigations by the D.C. medical examiner—records that are largely public in 31 states—will be removed from access via the D.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and will be available to the public only by court order under a pending bill in the D.C. Council. These are drastic and unnecessary steps, according to […]

    Interim Director of D.C. Council Office of ANCs Appointed

    October 12, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    An office within the D.C. Council that oversees the 40 D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions got an interim director by Council vote October 5. Ms. Schannette Grant, previously on staff in the office, will take over following the resignation September 30 of long-time director Gottlieb Simon. Larry Janezich reported in Capitol Hill Corner that some commissions […]

    D.C. Council Extends Virtual Meetings

    October 12, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The D.C. Council passed legislation October 5 extending authority for public bodies to meet virtually.   The Open Meetings Act requires meetings of covered bodies (executive branch boards and commissions, D.C. Council, charter schools’ trustees, etc.) to be held in public. That’s defined as meetings the public can attend, where the press can attend, or […]

    D.C. Council Returns to Work: Transparency Measures Pass and FOIA Threat Withdrawn

    October 12, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Court Authorized to Give Limited Access to Redacted Eviction Case Files Legislation passed last week (5) in the D.C. Council will allow eviction lawsuit records ordered sealed last year to be accessible again by application to the court and only for scholarly, educational, journalistic or governmental purposes. Researchers, the press and the Open Government Coalition […]

    Next Coalition Training: “Accessing D.C. Police Records”

    October 5, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The next “Digging Into DC!” community conversation/training session is coming up, this time about how to get information from the Metropolitan Police Department. WHAT: D.C. has for decades had a Freedom of Information Act that allows requests for police records but results have been mixed and this session will dive into the details. When body […]

    Next Coalition Training: “Accessing D.C. Police Records”

    October 4, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The next “Digging Into DC!” community conversation/training session is coming up, this time about how to get information from the Metropolitan Police Department. WHAT: D.C. has for decades had a Freedom of Information Act that allows requests for police records but results have been mixed and this session will dive into the details. When body […]

    D.C. Court Decides Mayor-Council Conflict Over FOIA Law: Upholds Online Publication Requirement

    July 24, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE: The District filed its initial notice of appeal August 5, and asked the courts to stay the orders of Superior Court Judge Pasichow. Action shifts to the D.C. Court of Appeals, Case No. 21 CV 543. An average appeal takes over a year. In its stay request, the District again argued that the E-FOIA […]

    Progress Towards Online Access to Records at D.C. Court of Appeals

    July 20, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The District’s high court is taking steps to allow public online access to case documents, according to a recent notice. It announces the Court of Appeals has “decided to adopt a pilot project” that will open files in some civil cases. The notice includes only an initial step, ordering personal information out of all court […]

    Coalition Welcomes Open Police Records Bill

    July 18, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    D.C. Council chairman Phil Mendelson has proposed legislation to allow public access to most police disciplinary records.   A broad police reform bill introduced last Monday (12) would amend the D.C. Freedom of Information Act so that exemptions used for years by police officials to deny public records requests will no longer apply. In addition, […]

    Is Open Government Returning Along with Monuments, Movies, and More?

    July 16, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    TSA screened more air travelers July 4 than any day since 2019, the Capitol fence is down, the zoo and some Smithsonian museums are open, the Washington Monument reopened Wednesday (14), the Nationals hosted 37,187 (90% capacity) for the Dodgers game July 4. And with 81 percent of theaters open, millions watched Disney blockbuster “Black […]