Latest Open government News

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, the House chamber at the state Capitol is empty in St. Paul, Minn., with some desks marked with an

Virus concerns lead to `public' meetings without the public

Mar. 21, 2020 11:39 AM EDT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — First, Oklahoma lawmakers excluded the public from the Capitol because of coronavirus concerns. Then with the public gone, lawmakers made an emergency change to the state's open-meetings law to let all governmental entities meet via video or teleconference, so long as people can...

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions concerning the state's response to the coronavirus Monday, March 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Lee has asked all schools in Tennessee to close by the end of the week due to coronavirus spreading across the state. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Tennessee reports 1st virus death, elderly man in Nashville

Mar. 20, 2020 10:38 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A 73-year-old man in Nashville with underlying health conditions has become Tennessee's first fatality linked to the new coronavirus, authorities said Friday. “This is a tragic loss of life, and we extend our heartfelt condolences with the family,” Nashville Mayor...

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, file photo, protesters hold up anti-Amazon signs during a coalition rally and news conference of elected officials, community organizations and unions opposing the second Amazon headquarters getting subsidies to locate in Long Island City, in New York. Amid growing concern about the incentives that cities promised Amazon to land its new headquarters, Kentucky lawmakers considered a bill in 2019 to keep the details of Louisville’s failed pitch to the retailer forever secret. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Legislative tracker sounds alarm on anti-transparency bills

Mar. 15, 2020 3:45 AM EDT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Amid growing concern about the expensive incentives promised to Amazon to land its new headquarters, Kentucky lawmakers considered a bill to shield its largest city's failed pitch from public scrutiny. To open government advocates, the effort to hide Louisville's bid was an outrage...

How new state-by-state transparency bill tracker will work

Mar. 15, 2020 3:43 AM EDT

Journalists, open government advocates and others have a new tool for tracking state legislation related to transparency. The coalition is working with the software company Quorum to identify bills that contain key search terms such as “public records." Coalition outreach manager Kelsey Ryan said the...

How reporters or members of the public can access legal help

Mar. 15, 2020 3:40 AM EDT

Some legal resources for reporters, local news organizations and members of the public who seek access to public records and meetings: — Legal Assistance: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is placing attorneys in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee to provide legal support...

Tennessee bill would keep most autopsy reports hidden

Mar. 10, 2020 3:13 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Autopsy and toxicology reports would remain largely hidden from public scrutiny under legislation that advanced Tuesday in Tennessee's GOP-dominated Statehouse. According to the measure, public disclosure of any report compiled by a Tennessee county medical examiner would be banned...

This Aug. 26, 2017 photo provided by Tom Kuglin shows his father and journalist John Kuglin posing for a photo near Swan Lake, Mont. Kuglin, a former Associated Press bureau chief for Montana and Wyoming who was a champion for open government and the public's right to know, has died, his son said Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. He was 78. He retired from the AP in 2005. (Tom Kuglin via AP)

Montana open government champion John Kuglin dies at 78

Feb. 29, 2020 10:38 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — John Kuglin, a former Associated Press bureau chief for Montana and Wyoming who was a champion for open government and the public's right to know, has died, his son said Saturday. He was 78. Tom Kuglin, a reporter and assistant editor for Helena's Independent Record, said his father...

In this Dec. 10, 2019 image made from newly released video provided by the Jersey City Police Department via the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, a Jersey City police officer fires his weapon from the window of a Catholic school during a fierce gun battle in Jersey City, N.J. On Dec. 10, attackers David Anderson and Francine Graham stormed a Kosher grocery store in Jersey City, killing three people in the market before being killed by police. (AP Photo/Jersey City Police Department via the New Jersey Attorney General's Office)

New video shows details from fatal shootout at kosher deli

Feb. 20, 2020 9:46 PM EST

Newly released video from a fatal shootout at a kosher grocery store in Jersey City shows the moment one of the shooters exited the van he drove there, took three steps and raised a long gun before entering the market, sending passersby scattering away from the shop. The seven video files obtained Thursday...

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2019, file photo, former Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson participates in a news conference at police headquarters in Chicago. Chicago's fired police superintendent is receiving a monthly pension of more than $15,800, a report Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 said. Johnson, who was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in December after she said he lied to her after a late weeknight in which he was found asleep in his city-issued SUV near his home, was awarded the pension by the Policemen's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing records it obtained under Illinois' Freedom of Information Act. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Fired Chicago Police superintendent getting $190K pension

Feb. 20, 2020 2:03 PM EST

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's former police chief has been receiving a pension of more than $15,800 a month since the mayor fired him for allegedly lying about a night he was found asleep in his city-issued SUV, according to a newspaper report. Eddie Johnson was awarded the pension by the Policemen’s...

ACLU sues Montana over Keystone XL protest plans

Feb. 6, 2020 5:49 PM EST

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Civil liberties advocates are taking Montana officials to court to force the public release of documents detailing the government’s planned response to anticipated protests against the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The ACLU of Montana filed a lawsuit Thursday in state District Court...