MARCH 2014

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
First Amendment 
of U.S. Constitution


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We welcome contributions to The NEFAC Report from journalists, lawyers, academics or other advocates of government transparency. If you have something to add to the conversation, please let us know. Your stories, experiences and commentaries have broad appeal and value.
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Testimony of NEFAC's Executive Director on Conn. Victim Privacy Legislation 

On March 10,  NEFAC's executive 

director, Rosanna Cavanagh, Esq., provided testimony to Connecticut's state Committee on Government Administration and Elections. Cavanagh addressed issues related to Bill No. 381 which concerns victim privacy and the public's right to know. [More]

Fire Chief's Sudden Retirement Sparks Public Records Battle

Sometimes a little persistence goes a long way. My editors at The Sun of Lowell came across a tip last summer, just after we learned the Westford fire chief of 37 years was announcing his retirement rather suddenly. His announcement came just a week before it was effective, and on the day I received a press release from Town Hall, we learned he was put on paid administrative leave, too. [More]

The Price of Accessing Public Records: 
ACLU of RI Lawsuit Challenges High Fees

Is a public record "public" if nobody can afford to see it? That's not a philosophical question, but rather one at the center of a lawsuit the ACLU of Rhode Island filed last month on behalf of a small community advocacy group. The Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA) filed detailed open records requests with five local police departments, as well as the RI Department of Corrections and RI State Police. [More]

Conn. Governor Orders More Data Public But Transparency Advocates Cautious

From the millions of tax dollars spent on Medicaid bills to the racial breakdown of public-school discipline to the condition of each of 4,218 highway bridges, the state of Connecticut - like all states - collects massive piles of data that often sit just beyond the reach of researchers, journalists and average citizens. But Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is pledging to change that, with an executive order that could move enormous amounts of data onto a free, user-friendly online portal. [More]

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