Covid-19 continues to impact

Public Record Access

Months into the novel coronavirus, states continue to debate whether the public is privy to certain covid-19 data under current public record laws.

Subscribe to the Peers in Public Records Newsletter

Let GovQA do the heavy lifting and receive the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives around the U.S., right to your inbox.

Share your expertise, a ‘quick tip’, or a positive story to be featured in Peers in Public Records. Send your submissions to peers@govqa.com

Featured

Delaware Governor lifts FOIA suspension in place since March

[Delaware’s] Gov. John Carney on Friday [Oct. 2] lifted the suspension of public records requests imposed more than six months ago, when the first coronavirus case appeared in Delaware.

As part of the state of emergency in place since March 13, the 15-business-day deadline for Freedom of Information Act requests was suspended, and although some agencies have still responded to submissions, albeit in slower fashion, others have halted answering them entirely.

The suspension had drawn criticism from an array of sources, but the state maintained it was necessary to free up resources elsewhere.

Read More | Delaware State News 

Legislation

Brigham Young University creates new security department that it says will not be subject to Utah’s open records laws

Brigham Young University announced Thursday [Oct. 1] that it has created a security department that will “function separately” from its police — forming a new division that the Provo school says will specifically be exempt from the state’s open records laws.

The surprising move comes after years of legal battles over whether officers at the private religious school had improperly shared police evidence, including while investigating student reports of rape. In response to those accounts, legislators passed a law explicitly requiring, as of May 2019, that BYU’s police department be required to share its reports publicly under the same rules that govern public universities.

Read MoreThe Salt Lake City Tribune

Oregon's public records advocate resigns

Oregon’s public records advocate has resigned after clashing with the state board she chairs over its efforts to make her office more independent from the governor.

In a resignation letter obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive, Public Records Advocate Becky Chiao wrote Tuesday [Sept. 29] that “a disagreement has arisen between me and at least one esteemed member of the Public Records Advisory Council regarding my actions. Rather than distract the group with a debate about this disagreement, after serious soul searching, I agree that my continued service in this role is not in the public interest.”

Read MoreMSN News

Webinar: The 2020 Effect

How Public Safety Organizations are Actively Addressing the Changing Need for Transparency.

Wednesday, October 14@ 12 PM CT | 1 PM ET

Litigation

Wisconsin business groups sue to keep COVID lists secret

Three business groups filed a lawsuit Thursday [Oct. 1] seeking to block Gov. Tony Evers’ administration from releasing the names of more than 1,000 businesses with employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, saying the release would blacklist those operations as the disease surges across the state.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Lloyd Carter issued an injunction blocking any release for five days pending a hearing.

Read More | Wausau Pilot and Review 

Peer Resources

Where and How Can You Get CARES Funding for Purchase of GovQA?

What are some of the steps to obtaining CARES Act or other grant funding for your project?

  1. Get a funding template from GovQA to align your funding request with grant application goals.
  2. Send the funding request letter to the appropriate funding director. This could be the State Finance Director, Deputy Chief of State, COO, County Executive, City Treasurer, Relief & Recovery Lead Appointee, or someone else. Check out the link below to see who has oversight in your state.
  3. Act now: Some funds expire December 31, 2020! Dollars are going fast!

Read More | GovQA

The Peers in Public Records Newsletter (formerly FOIA News) is a bi-monthly e-newsletter brought to you by GovQA. It is a collection of the latest trends in public record requests and government transparency initiatives, shared stories, informative case studies, and actionable knowledge that will help you calm the chaos and keep your organization compliant. Send your comments to peers@govqa.com.

Subscribe to the Peers in Public Records Newsletter