Blog Posts

    Coalition Update on Emergency Changes in Open Government in the District of Columbia

    March 18, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Legislation The D.C. Council met Tuesday (17) and passed emergency legislation with several dozen kinds of special authority for government action during the health emergency. Some change open government law; earlier versions of some were analyzed in previous D.C. Open Government Coalition posts. “Loose Lips” columnist Mitch Ryals reviewed the session for style and substance […]

    Open Government in A Time of Pandemic: FOIA and Some Public Access to Trials May Be Early Casualties

    March 15, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Here’s what we know about modifications, actual and proposed, in open government as of Saturday evening, March 14 [plus some updates Monday at 8:00 p.m., when the number of reported D.C. virus cases reached 17], in the D.C. executive branch, D.C. Council and the local and federal courts. The dramatic ones — possible suspension of […]

    Sunshine Week 2020 Summit Goes Dark (for Now)

    March 11, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Coalition has canceled its signature Sunshine Week event set for March 18. We do intend to reschedule this event for a later date, so please stay in touch and check our website and/or social media (@DCOGC on Twitter and DC Open Government Coalition on Facebook) for more information. Thanks to all who planned to […]

    Special Education Complaints Buried by D.C. State Office – Coalition Seeks Review of Years of Disregarding the Law Requiring Publication of Opinions

    February 28, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Five D.C. public schools lost special education teachers to extended leaves for periods as long as five months in 2018-19. In violation of federal law, the schools made do with nonqualified replacements. But these paraprofessionals and substitutes could not provide the full hours of specialized instruction called for in the students’ individual education plans — […]

    D.C. Council Oversight: Coalition Testifies on FOIA Funding, Enforcement and Application to Charter Schools (Again)

    February 18, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    FOIA First: Coalition Highlights Agency Failures to Prioritize Funding the Tech Tools Needed for 21st Century Online Access to Records D.C. Open Government Coalition board member Bob Becker testified February 12, 2020, calling on the D.C. Council to repair outdated systems supporting mandatory public access to records and to straighten out ineffective FOIA enforcement. His […]

    Coalition FOIA Complaint Sustained: D.C. Administrative Court Has Failed for Years to Publish Opinions (Blames Budget)

    February 10, 2020, by Fritz Mulhauser

    The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) has failed for years to follow D.C. public records law requiring online publication of its decisions. The OAH has admitted noncompliance, while denying “defiance or ambivalence” and blaming lack of funds. The admission was reported January 27 among the findings of a four-month investigation by the Office of Open […]

    Counting Down the Top Open Government Stories of 2019

    December 30, 2019, by Fritz Mulhauser

    We’ve compiled five top stories of the year from the many matters the Coalition has participated in as advocates and covered in the Transparency Watch item in our blog. #5: D.C. Council effort to limit FOIA stopped by community opposition Proposed FOIA changes to make fewer records available and harder to get were on the […]

    Holiday message and appeal

    December 30, 2019, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Dear Reader, With the year ending, the D.C. Open Government Coalition is writing to thank those who have contributed before and to encourage all those who value the Coalition’s work to plan a gift before the end of the year.    Please support our work by donating here.  Your contribution of $5, $50 or $500 […]

    D.C. Transparency Watch: Your News Roundup on Open Gov’t Litigation, Agencies, Press, Coalition Doings — and Advice on an Open Government Holiday Gift

    December 5, 2019, by Fritz Mulhauser

    Increased access to body-cam video The D.C. Council moved quickly without hearings or markup to pass a bill December 3 that will grant next-of-kin easier access to police shooting videos. Long waits for the bereaved were reported in powerful testimony at the Council roundtable in October when families, activist groups and the Coalition discussed how […]

    Coalition to D.C. Council: Big Fees for Body-Cam Video Redaction Have Hijacked Public Access; Plus Five Ways to Make the Video More Useful

    November 9, 2019, by Fritz Mulhauser

    High costs and delay have limited public access to police body-worn camera video. This was the testimony of the D.C. Open Government Coalition and other critical witnesses at the Council’s October 21 review of the camera program. “MPD has chosen an overbroad interpretation of the law,” said Coalition witness Fritz Mulhauser (this writer). “It redacts […]