Monday, June 8, 2009

Planning MnCOGI’s Transparency Inventory

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

Planning MnCOGI’s Transparency Inventory moderated by Allan Malkis, Board member, Minnesota Coalition on Government Information

Looking to hold a government agency accountable for the action it takes?
Discuss how to conduct an inventory of a state or local agency’s actions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
East Lake Library
2727 Lake Street (near Hiawatha)

* * * *

Future COGI-tations

August 5, 2009
Don Gemberling
Introduction to Minnesota’s Data Practices Act

Late August/Early September, 2009
International Right to Know Day

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

Missed the weekend? Catch the action!

Extraordinary thanks are due to the staff of the National Freedom of Information Coalition and to our own transparency team at The Uptake for brilliant coverage of the NFOIC Summit held in Minneapolis this past weekend. The Summit concluded late Saturday. In nanoseconds the text summaries and videos were posted on the web.

Attached is a program for the conference that may help readers follow and link to the big picture. Following are the sessions summaries accompanied by great photos.

· NFOIC Summit: Civics education
· NFOIC Summit: Fiscal transparency
· NFOIC Summit: Texts, Lies and Video Tape
· Mitchell Pearlman honored at NFOIC Summit
· NFOIC Summit: Infrastructure coverage tips
· NFOIC Summit: FOI & Infrastructure
· Judge rules media have no more rights than general...
· NFOIC Summit: Technologies you should be using
· NFOIC Summit: Coalition Sustainability
· NFOIC Summit: Arizona FOI roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Delaware FOI roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Kentucky FOIA roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Missouri FOI roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Oklahoma FOI roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Wisconsin FOIA roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Florida FOIA roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Minnesota FOIA roundup
· NFOIC Summit: Public access values
· NFOIC Summit: Public access threats

For those with a preference for video, we offer The Uptake take on the Summit. The Uptake livestreamed the Summit, thus reaching the many “regulars” whose budget cuts prevented travel to the City of Lakes. As always, there are some video glitches, but the audio is clear throughout. Keep checking TheUptake, too – there’s much more to come!

Many thanks to the several journalists, professional and citizen, who captured the moment. As one who spent a good portion of the Summit keep abreast of activities outside the sessions, I am particularly grateful for the virtual experience. After a Sunday of reading, viewing and listening, I feel as if I actually participated in the group experience. MT.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jane Kirtley on Open Government Laws

With the NFOIC conference in town last week, Jane Kirtley penned an editorial on Freedom of Information and the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

Here's a flavor of the article (you can find the entire article online):

The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act — Minnesota's version of the
Freedom of Information Act — is a lot like MSP airport. Thirty-odd years ago, in
those heady days after the Watergate scandal, when it seemed like everyone was
clamoring for greater oversight of government, Minnesota took its first stab at
drafting a simple statute that would guarantee public access to government data.
That law was about four pages long and easy for almost anyone to understand.
Government data was presumed to belong to the public.

But a lot has changed since then.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NFOIC Summit 2009 Update Memo

TO: NFOIC Summit 2009 registrants
FROM: Mary Treacy, Minnesota Coalition on Government Information
RE: Welcome to NFOIC Summit 2009 participants

The Minnesota Coalition on Government Information has the welcome mat rolled out – and some last minute news for those who will be participating in the National Freedom of Information Coalition Summit 2009. Please share the relevant information with colleagues who are unable to make the pilgrimage to our fair city. Last week we sent a note to attendees who will be coming to Minneapolis from around the country. This note is for all the attendees now registered. There is always room for more Summit participations – if you have a colleague who might be interested, encourage him or her to come on down or, in our case, up!

News from the Summit:

* To ensure that attendees and others are up to speed on the program. MnCOGI has been interviewing Summit speakers in advance of the Summit. The result is a series of podcasts posted on the MnCOGI website. Click “podcasts” on the home page to hear recorded interviews with some of the Summit speakers as well as podcast interview with Minnesota open government heroes.

* We were concerned about how to open the Summit to those whose travel budgets have hit hard times. After some exploration we have arranged to have the full Summit livestreamed. Our partner organization is The Uptake, the folks who streamed the Republican National Convention in August 2008 and who, more recently, have opened the doors to the hearings re. the Franken/Coleman senatorial election. Those who cannot be present may participate in the Summit from their laptop - and we will have a record of the proceedings.

* In another partnership with local media we have arranged for access advocates to participate in a pre-Summit radio discussion on Wednesday, June 3. Truth to Tell, hosted by activist Andy Driscoll and carried on local station KFAI, takes a lead in opening the doors to government. Again, the discussion is streamed on the web.

* We hope all Summit attendees plan to attend the social hour on Friday, June 5, 5-6 p.m. NFOIC has generously suggested that we invite friends and supporters to this event – we have and many are coming. It’s our chance to thank them publicly and for them to meet our colleagues both locally and from other state coalitions. These folks have sustained MnCOGI as we struggled to meet the requirements of the NFOIC incentive grant in these tough times!

* Denise Meyers at NFOIC has done a great job of ferreting out information about parking. Logistics are attached. Lots of construction downtown Minneapolis, too. Check the MnCOGI website for the most recent info – parking is convenient but be prepared.

* Those registered for the Summit should have received a “Welcome to Minneapolis” over Memorial Day weekend. It has recently come to me that the list I was using was not complete. The notes were all about the Twin Cities – public transit, skyways, the Mall and, above all, the Mighty Mississippi. If you didn’t get that e-letter, it’s posted on the MnCOGI website – or just let me know and I’ll send you a copy.

* We’ve posted on the MnCOGI site a map indicating the sites of state Centers. Would you please take a look at it and let us know if you’ve changed location, name or URL. We haven’t inserted the site links yet, but we will as soon as you okay the information. We’d like to have this ready for prime time at the Summit, so we would greatly appreciate your taking a few minutes now to check your center’s entry.
If you know of sites that have begun, closed shop or changed any of the variables, please let us know. I haven’t added the links yet, but sooner rather than later I will get to that.

We look forward to seeing you soon in Minneapolis. Remember to bring walking shows so you won’t miss the walkable sites of the city – the Mississippi, Nicollet Mall, the skyways, museums and so much more. Freedom of information favors a free spirit which assumes you get out and explore your environs.