Blog Posts

    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 […]

    Coalition Welcomes D.C. Police Reform Commission Recommendations to Release More Body Cam Video and Records of Police Complaints and Discipline

    March 25, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    At its final meeting Monday (22), the Police Reform Commission agreed on a recommendation that the Metropolitan Police Department be required to release body worn camera (BWC) video with less redaction.  The recommendation follows a legal opinion of the Office of Open Government (OOG) that present redaction incorrectly applies privacy protections in D.C public records […]

    Saga of Secret D.C. School Names Ends: D.C. Schools Now Say No Children Were Involved in 2018-19 Sexual Misconduct Cases

    March 3, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    D.C. Public Schools officials now say that the cases of sexual misconduct in four schools in 2018-19 did not involve students. This information has been withheld from anxious parents but was obtained by the Open Government Coalition under the D.C. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In response to community concern in 2019 after an incident […]

    Some Long Overdue MPD Stop-and-Frisk Data Issued After Second Lawsuit

    March 1, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 3/8/21: MPD released a full year of data for 2020 on Friday, March 5. Early write-up in dcist here. The dataset includes 81,000 stops and MPD provided a brief analysis. The Metropolitan Police Department on February 22 published year-old data on street stops for part of 2020, required by a provision of the wide […]

    Public Will Have Greater Access in this Year’s D.C. Council Online Budget Hearings

    February 23, 2021, by Fritz Mulhauser

    UPDATE 4/14/21: The Council voted April 6 to extend the Fiscal Year 2022 budget submission date further, now to April 27, 2021. See April 12 readout by the Arent Fox law firm. UPDATE 3/1/21: The mayor and Council are postponing submission of the Fiscal Year 2022 budget in hopes it can include billions in federal […]