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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.
Submissions can be emailed to: [email protected]
NEFAC Joins Open Government Groups to Blast R.I. Attorney General Opinion

Calling it "a new low" in Rhode Island's enforcement of the Access to Public Records Act (APRA), the New England First Amendment Coalition joined several fellow open government groups to blast an opinion recently issued by the attorney general's officeThe advisory opinion, Clark v. Dept. of Public Safety, held that public bodies can charge members of the public for the time it takes to compose a letter denying an open records request. [More] 

Access Limited: An Audit of Compliance with R.I. Public Records Certification 

A recent audit of open government practices in Rhode Island has found that six municipalities and 10 out of 24 surveyed state and quasi-public agencies are seemingly in violation of the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) by failing to certify that they have any employees trained to grant or deny public record requests. [More]

NEFAC's Response to James Foley's Death

War reporting is one of the noblest and most dangerous kinds of journalism. James Foley, the New Hampshire native barbarically murdered earlier this month, was dedicated to the craft. The New England First Amendment Coalition salutes James Foley's work and that of others who carry on this most risky pursuit. We send our condolences to the entire Foley family and to Boston-based GlobalPost, the acclaimed international news provider in whose service James Foley gave his life. [More] 

Massachusetts Ruling Reduces Access to Criminal Court Records

In a stark about-face, the highest court of Massachusetts recently took a step toward reducing access to criminal court records. It reversed its own ruling from 20 years ago - and picked a fight with the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals that could someday be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. [More] 
Sentinel Editor Kaiser to Highlight Annual Institute; Applications Now Available

Marty Kaiser, editor and senior vice president of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, will provide the keynote address at this year's New England First Amendment Institute. The New England First Amendment Coalition provides the three-day intensive training course on freedom of information laws and investigative techniques each year to 25 of the region's most promising journalists. It will be held Nov. 16-18 in Dedham, Mass. [More]

Sun of Lowell Prevails in Public Records Dispute Against Westford Officials

Selectmen in the town of Westford, Mass., have to release emails exchanged during what the state is calling a "serial deliberation" about whether to pay a retiring fire chief $25,000. The Sun requested this spring all emails related to the negotiations. [More] 

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