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Mass. Bill Filed to Expand Secrecy of Investigative Records on Abuse of the Disabled

The following was emailed to newsrooms and members of the media throughout Massachusetts on behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates. Would you like to share a public records story? Please email justin@nefac.org. By Dave Kassel I’m writing to call your attention to a bill in the Massachusetts Legislature, which we think would draw an ever-tighter […]

In Rhode Island, It’s More Like ‘Sunshine: Weak’

By Edward Fitzpatrick Rhode Island celebrated “Sunshine Week” recently, but when it comes to open government in Rhode Island these days, the more accurate description might be “Sunshine: Weak.” The Providence Journal detailed the dark days in a March 10 special report, “Transparency Under Assault: Government Secrecy in Rhode Island.” Reporters Tom Mooney and Amanda […]

Sunshine Week: A Reminder That Public Records Belong to Us All

By Richard C. Gagliuso During Sunshine Week, we remember and celebrate our ability to keep track of what our public officials are up to, through our broad right of access to governmental records and proceedings. Like many of the rights we enjoy as Americans, this is one we would do well to keep in mind […]

‘A Democracy Hidden From the People is No Democracy At All’

The following is the keynote address given by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on March 11 at the National Archives and Records Administration in honor of Sunshine Week. Sen. Leahy received NEFAC’s 2016 Stephen Hamblett First Amendment Award for his efforts to advance government transparency. By Sen. Patrick Leahy Sunshine Week is an opportunity for us […]

Vermont Secretary of State: Public Officials Must Be Transparent at All Times

By Jim Condos On Tuesday, March 5th, Vermonters elected their local government officials on Town Meeting Day. In November 2018, Vermonters chose their statewide officers and legislative representatives. In November 2016, Vermonters voted for the highest elected office in the United States. Regardless of the difference in responsibilities of their positions, from local select boards […]

The First Amendment and the Foxy Lady

By Jared A. Goldstein The exotic dancing at the Foxy Lady will never be confused with the Bolshoi Ballet. Indeed, some would consider it “low value” speech and condemn it as demeaning to women, offensive and immoral. Yet, the fact that some members of society may frown on this type of expression provides no basis to suppress it. […]

Recognizing the Free Press in the Crosshairs Across the Globe

By David A. Logan TIME chose the right time to name four journalists and a newspaper as the magazine’s “Person of the Year.” This is an entirely appropriate salute to journalists who have the temerity to speak truth to power while facing arrest and even beheadings at the hands of governments unwilling to tolerate criticism. TIME also […]

U.S. Free Press Beacon Dimmed

By Edward Fitzpatrick The President of the United States praised a member of Congress for assaulting a journalist. Think about the message that sends to the world. Now add in that President Trump had just spent days publicly grasping for ways to avoid blaming Saudi Arabia for the gruesome murder of another journalist. And then, […]

‘The True Enemy of the People’

By David Rosen When President Trump calls the press the “enemy of the people” or the “true enemy of the people” (as he did several days after authorities found the second of two packages containing pipe bombs sent to CNN) he is doing more than disrespecting the press. He is delegitimizing and demonizing the press, […]

First Amendment Lets Officials Mute But Not Block Twitter Critics

By Jenna Wims Hashway Public agencies and officials run afoul of First Amendment protections if they block Twitter followers for criticizing them. But those First Amendment arguments are moot if those government officials simply hit “mute.” That’s the upshot of a recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who said that President […]