Showing posts with label government information. Show all posts
Showing posts with label government information. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White House Launches Comprehensive Open Government Plan

December 8, 2009 -- The Obama administration released the Comprehensive Open Government Plan today. Administered through the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the president demanded the directive be built around three main principles - transparency, participation, and collaboration. Specific requirements and deadlines are outlined for all agencies, and the directive centers on four main components: publishing information; creating a culture of openness; improving data quality; and updating policies to allow for greater openness.

Read the PDF IconOpen Government Directive

OMB Watch
National Security Archive Unredacted Blog
Steve Aftergood’s Secrecy News Blog
"Why an Open Government Matters"

The announcement was streamed live with U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, followed by a web forum where individuals could ask questions. Watch the video below, or at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Minnesota's data practices law - a look to the future

COGI-tations: A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Tuesday, October 27, 2009 - Event Photos
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Midtown Commons, 2324 University Ave West, St. Paul (just East of Raymond)
Women Venture meeting room
Free and convenient parking West of the Midtown Commons complex.

An open discussion of changing needs, many the result of technology. A chance to review the principles that undergird the state’s unique data practices law. Come prepared to share issues, experience, a vision of future challenges and practical suggestions for needed change.

Resource people, on hand to provide context and answer questions, include John R. Finnegan, Sr, Jane Kirtley, Kirsten Clark, Don Gemberling
& other members of the MnCOGI Board.

Learn more:

PDF IconThe Public's Business: More People Are Knocking at the Door - Let Them In, by Jane Kirtley, 3/15/2009*.

PDF IconOur Open-Government Laws Need to be Stronger and Clearer, by Jane Kirtley, 6/5/2009*.

* Articles posted with permission of the author, Jane Kirtley, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

COGI-tations are public forums sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.All COGI-tations are free and open to the public.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

International Right to Know -- COGI-tations Presenter Notes

September 10, 2009, COGI-tations Forum
The right to ask...the right to know
PDF IconNotes.pdf from presenter, Barb Frey

Monday, August 31, 2009

The right to ask...the right to know:
International Right to Know Day 2009
COGI-tations: A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Featuring: Barbara A. Frey
Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts University of Minnesota

Thursday, September 10, 2009
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Midtown Commons, 2324 University Ave West, St. Paul (just East of Raymond)
Women Venture meeting room

COGI-tations are public forums sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.All COGI-tations are free and open to the public.

Background Information

Barbara A Frey
is Director of the Human Rights Program in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota. The Program, established in 2001, provides academic, research and internship opportunities for students in the field of international human rights.

Frey is well known as an international human rights teacher, advocate and scholar. She served from 2000-2003 as an alternate member of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, a body of independent experts who advise the United Nations on human rights policy. From 2002-2006 Frey served as Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission to conduct a study on the issue of preventing human rights abuses committed with small arms and light weapons. From 1985 through 1996 Frey was Executive Director of Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. She is a co-convenor of the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights, a network of 44 organizations working to promote research and advocacy on human rights issues.

Frey is the recipient of the 2008 Don and Arvonne Fraser Award from the Advocates for Human Rights. She received the 2008 Outstanding Faculty Community Service Award from the University of Minnesota. She received the first Iustitia et Lex award from the University of St. Thomas Law School in 2003. She was named the 2001 Myra Bradwell Award winner by Minnesota Women Lawyers for promoting the interests of women in the legal profession and in the community. She is the immediate past Chair of the St. Paul-Minneapolis Committee on Foreign Relations. Frey attended the University of Notre Dame (BA, 1978) and the University of Wisconsin Law School (JD, 1982). She worked as an associate lawyer at Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis from 1983-85.

International Right to Know Day
is celebrated each year on September 28. Increasingly the issue of the right to know as a basic human right is on the public agenda. Come learn more about plans, gather materials, and explore ways in which Minnesotans can participate in the celebration.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Minnesota’s Government Data Practices Act: A Primer

COGI-tations: A program of the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Minnesota’s Government Data Practices Act : A Primer
Hint: It’s Not as Complicated As You Think!

Presenter: Don Gemberling - “Godfather” of Minnesota data practices

Minnesota’s data practices law is based upon openness to information by and about state and local government. Advocacy groups, citizen journalists, concerned citizens, bloggers and all concerned about access to government activities need to know their rights. Elected and appointed officials need to understand their responsibility to assure access. Don Gemberling knows the law and can clarify it for those who may be intimidated, confused or overwhelmed by a straightforward law based in the assumption of transparency. Attendees are encouraged to bring their government information horror stories for analysis and feedback.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Midtown Commons, 2324 University Ave West, St. Paul
(just East of Raymond)
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits conference room, Suite 20

COGI-tations are public forums sponsored by the
Minnesota Coalition on Government Information.
All COGI-tations are free and open to the public.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Top Ten Most Wanted Government Documents

The Center for Democracy and Technology recently released a report on the most wanted federal documents. Here’s a list of the Top Ten Most Wanted Government Documents from the report.

  1. Public Access to All Congressional Research Service Reports
  2. Information About the Use of TARP and Bailout Funds
  3. Open and Accessible Federal Court Documents Through the PACER System
  4. Current Contractor Projects
  5. Court Settlements Involving Federal Agencies
  6. Access to Comprehensive Information About Legislation and Congressional
    Actions via THOMAS or Public Access to Legislative Information Service
  7. Online Access to Electronic Campaign Disclosures
  8. Daily Schedules of the President and Cabinet Officials
  9. Personal Financial Disclosures from Policymakers Across Government
  10. State Medicaid Plans and Waivers

Governing with Accountability

Governing with Accountability, the report just issued by Growth & Justice, strikes a blow for accountability at the state government level. The report uses six principles to describe “a better way to define our expectations in these important areas and the need to hold leaders, managers and organizations accountable for delivering services and other valued public policy outcomes.” Find the full report online or contact Growth & Justice

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Plan to Offer 50 Sites on Politics in 50 States
The New York Observer prepares for the election by launching a spate of state-specific publications.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Secret criminal cases may at last see light of day

The U.S. attorney's office may consider automatic review of sealed criminal cases following an inquiry by the Star Tribune.

States failing FOI responsiveness
States failing FOI responsiveness
Better Government Association and National Freedom of Information Coalition give 38 out of 50 states "F" grade in overall responses to FOI requests.
Analysis by the Better Government Association
Overview by Charles N. Davis

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Digitizing & Preservation
If the feds recognize the importance of preservation, can/will the state be far behind – or will we digitize everything that matters and assume it will be there when it’s needed? Who’s thinking about that?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

CRS reports - action needed

From Open the Government --

Policy and News Updates for March 20, 2007

[new] Accessing Congressional research
American taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service (CRS), an arm of the Library of Congress whose 700 researchers provide reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. However, these reports are not open to the public. The best way for the public to obtain a CRS report is through their member of Congress, but the process is slow and it requires that the requester know the report exists.

On March 28, coalition partners of, along with the Center for Democracy and Technology and others, sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-CA], the Senate Rules Committee, and the Committee on House Administration asking that CRS reports be made available to the public. According the letter, "Public demand for these reports has never been higher. In a little more than a year, members of the public have downloaded more than 3.5 million CRS reports from, a Web site that provides a searchable database of CRS reports that have been obtained by various archivists and members of the public."

Making CRS reports available to the public makes sense. According to the letter, "CRS already maintains a fully searchable, password-protected Web site for members of Congress... Increasing capacity and providing public access to that site would constitute a trivial expense for the Library of Congress or for the House in light of their current levels of traffic." As Paul M. Weyrich, Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, notes in a commentary piece, "The proliferation of free information online has only strengthened the argument that CRS also should offer free information."

Focus has turned to CRS recently, due to two memos CRS Director Daniel P. Mulhollan issued noting changes in CRS policies. On March 20, Mulhollan issued a memo to all CRS staff saying, "I have concluded that prior approval should now be required at the division or office level before products are distributed to members of the public. This policy is effective immediately." In the past, it was possible for members of the press, other researchers, and other government officials to request specific reports from the congressional support agency. However, as Secrecy News reports, this memo changes that policy. A staffer told Secrecy News, "We're all sort of shaking. I can't do my work."

In addition, some members of Congress have criticized CRS for its recent decision to stop its reports on earmarks. In a Wall Street Journal Editorial titled "Earmark Cover-Up", John Fund accuses CRS of "helping its masters hide wasteful spending." Despite requests from Sen. Coburn [R-OK] and Sen. Jim DeMint [R-SC], a private Feb. 22 directive from Director Mulhollan states that, "CRS will no longer identify earmarks for individual programs, activities, entities, or individuals," ending its 12-year practice of reporting on earmark data. Mulhollan responded to the editorial in a memo to CRS staff and a letter to the editor, available through Secrecy News.

TAKE ACTION: Help add to the Open CRS collection! Call your member of Congress and request a PDF copy of the following CRS Report. Once you receive it, submit it to Open CRS.
Report Order Code: RL31686
Title: Demilitarization of Significant Military Equipment