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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.


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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 
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"Modifying police logs after the fact not only defeats the purpose of the state's Public Records Law, but it invites mistrust between communities and their law enforcement. The law needs to be followed by all custodians even if the information released is embarrassing or involves a public figure."

Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director, discussing in the Boston Herald allegations that the Foxborough Police Department broke the Massachusetts public records law.

"At the end of the day, when we say we shall overcome, what we are attempting to conquer, what we are attempting to do is make real the promises of American democracy. The message we should take from Dr. King's life is simply this: We have it in our power to do it."

NEFAC's Yohuru Williams, dean of Fairfield University's College of Arts and Sciences, during a keynote speech delivered at Ohio University, as quoted by the Athens News.

"This decision is good news for free speech. The Libertarian Party deserves the chance to deliver its message by hiring signature-gatherers based on their qualifications, not their zip codes."

NEFAC's Dan Barrett, an attorney at the ACLU of Connecticut, quoted in Connecticut News Junkie about a recent legal victory by the Libertarian Party. 

If you're elected to a public school board, that's really only when the board meets or if you are on an assignment from the board, otherwise you aren't a member. Consider your congressman or congresswoman, elected to represent you, but not really when he or she is just walking around the Congressional district. 
The first thing our FOICommission 
must do is strike down that absurd section of Norwalk's school board bylaws."

NEFAC's Jim Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information, discussing in CTViewpoints about an upcoming FOI case.

This Senate bill will help restore respectability to our public records law. It will make it easier for residents to obtain information in a timely, cost-efficient way. It will provide recourse for those who are unjustly denied information and help keep communities informed. This legislation is a big step toward returning transparency to Massachusetts."

Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director, on a recent Massachusetts Senate bill to reform the state's public records statute.

 NEFAC REPORT | January 2016

Open Government Groups Applaud 
Mass. Senate Public Records Legislation
The Massachusetts State Senate released last week legislation to reform the Massachusetts public records law. Open government groups which comprise the steering committee of the Massachusetts Freedom of Information Alliance - including the New England First Amendment Coalition - lauded the reform and called for swift passage. The new bill, released by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, follows passage of a much weaker bill in the House of Representatives last November. [More] [Additional Coverage]

Crafting Budget in Secret is 
an Affront to Maine Residents 
Last June, the four highest ranking party leaders in Maine stepped behind closed doors to draft a budget and re-write tax law in secret. Why? 
The men - two Democrats and two Republicans - said Maine had run out of time to craft a budget in public, which is specifically prescribed in the Legislature's Joint Rules of procedure, and they felt compelled to act outside procedure to reach a compromise on tax cuts and welfare reforms. [ More]

New Hampshire House Bills Will 
Improve Government Transparency 
Government transparency is not a partisan issue. It is a core value in a democracy and helps voters make informed decisions. Right to Know New Hampshire - a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving New Hampshire's Right-to-Know Law - recently authored and submitted to the state's House of Representatives three bills that will help increase public disclosure and improve access to government meetings. [More] [Additional Coverage]

Several Reminders to Lawmakers 
on Body Cam Bills and FOI Laws 
Police body camera legislation and state freedom of information laws are on a collision course.
With 34 states considering legislation to address body cameras for law enforcement last year, questions about the public's accessibility to the footage captured by those cameras still abound. Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic recently argued, however, that it's imperative that such footage be considered public under each state's respective FOI law. 

Other FOI and First Amendment News

            Gannett First Amendment Museum

            publicrecsPublic Records Reform
            Chandler Jones, Police Records
            Police Body Camera Policies, Funding
            Sex Offender Registry, Right to Know
            Chelmsford Hazing Documents