Augusta Free Press: Records related to Shenandoah National Park creation now digitized

Augusta Free Press: Records related to Shenandoah National Park creation now digitized. “The Piedmont Environmental Council has completed the digitization of thousands of legal documents related to the Commonwealth’s 1930s-era condemnation of private lands in Rappahannock County for the creation of Shenandoah National Park. The digitization project has made all of the deed book records, court proceedings and individual case files for Rappahannock County properties that are now part of Shenandoah National Park, publicly accessible and searchable for the first time.”

Techdirt: CBP Is Asking The National Archives For Permission To Destroy Misconduct Records

Techdirt: CBP Is Asking The National Archives For Permission To Destroy Misconduct Records. “The CBP wants to make its refusal to part with misconduct records a feature, rather than an all-too-common federal agency bug. It has asked the National Archive to treat many of its misconduct records as ‘temporary,’ giving it permission to discard these as soon as possible rather than having them preserved for posterity.”

Immigration Impact: This Immigration Enforcement Agency Wants To Destroy Records on Abuses by Its Own Agents

Immigration Impact: This Immigration Enforcement Agency Wants To Destroy Records on Abuses by Its Own Agents. “U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to destroy thousands of records documenting abuse and misconduct by its agents. The agency has requested that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approve the destruction of complaints–but over 100 organizations opposed this decision citing mounting evidence of CBP lack of accountability.”

Washington Post: Public records requests fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic

Washington Post: Public records requests fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic. “With most government employees still working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, the disclosure of public records by many federal agencies and local government offices nationwide has worsened or even ground to a halt…. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which provides legal support for journalists, has catalogued more than 130 instances in which state and local officials in 39 states and the District of Columbia cited the pandemic as a reason to curtail access to public records.”

The Texas Record: COVID-19 Health Screening Records

The Texas Record: COVID-19 Health Screening Records. “Since the start of the 2020 pandemic, many organizations have started collecting information on the people visiting their facilities: temperature checks, symptom reporting, test results, etc. If your local government or state agency has been screening people for COVID-19 symptoms, you’re probably wondering what to do with all those records. There is no one perfect record series for COVID-19 screening records, as the administrative and legal value will vary depending on who is conducting the screening, whether information is being collected on citizens or employees, and what specific questions are being asked.”

Law & Crime: House Judiciary Committee Will Vote on Bill to Make All Federal Court Records Free for Public to Access

Law & Crime: House Judiciary Committee Will Vote on Bill to Make All Federal Court Records Free for Public to Access. “A committee in the U.S. House of Representatives is set to discuss whether publicly-funded information should be made available to the public for free. On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up a bill aimed at revamping the decades-old Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system which charges user fees for access to the 500 million-plus documents currently under its administration.”

CREW: EPA Destroys Water Quality Records, Deceives Archivist

CREW: EPA Destroys Water Quality Records, Deceives Archivist. “The Environmental Protection Agency illegally destroyed records, deceived the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about that destruction, and falsely blamed the coronavirus pandemic to escape accountability, according to internal documents uncovered by CREW.”

State Archives of North Carolina: The Reemergence of Colonial Court Records

State Archives of North Carolina: The Reemergence of Colonial Court Records. “‘Accessing North Carolina’s Early Court Records’ is a special project funded by the National Historic Publications and Records Commission. Begun in 2019, this effort will reintroduce some of North Carolina’s oldest and forgotten historical records to the public. Colonial Court Records, SR.401, and District Superior Court Records, SR.398, span the years ca. 1665–1823. We’re happy to announce that in mid-2020, the project archivist for the project, Marie Stark, completed work on the Colonial Court Records, providing more detailed description to increase their visibility and, in the process, stabilizing their storage to facilitate preservation for years to come.”

The Texas Record: COVID-19 Records and How Long to Keep Them

The Texas Record: COVID-19 Records and How Long to Keep Them. “The analysts here at TSLAC have been getting tons of questions about how governments should be handling their COVID-19 records. The influx of these questions is understandable – we are working during extraordinary times. In fact, these may be historic times; COVID-19 records may potentially be used as documentary evidence by future researchers, historians, and citizens. However, we’re here to tell you: don’t panic! Well, at least don’t panic about the records. If you know anything about basic records management, then you already have all the tools you need to manage COVID-19 records.”

Law .com: Public Records Requests During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Law .com: Public Records Requests During the COVID-19 Pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused nations and organizations across the world to take emergency action to safeguard public health. Courts, public schools and colleges, municipalities, and other agencies throughout Florida, and across the nation, have temporarily closed office buildings, suspended or reduced operations, and instituted work from home policies. Federal, state, and local governments have requested that residents practice social distancing, and some states have even implemented ‘stay-at-home’ orders. Notwithstanding these unprecedented times, agencies continue to have an obligation to acknowledge and respond to public records requests. ”

New Haven Register: Veterans group continues legal battle over discharge records

New Haven Register: Veterans group continues legal battle over discharge records. “A veterans group is continuing to sue the Pentagon over access to military discharge records despite a federal judge’s recent dismissal of the case. The National Veterans Legal Services Program said Tuesday that it filed its intent to bring the case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The group represents former service members who want to upgrade a less-than-honorable discharge. Such a status can sometimes result in a loss of veterans benefits.”

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?

The Washington Post: Should the public pay a dime for access to court records?. “The federal judiciary charges 10 cents per page to pull up court files from its online record repository. The fees can add up quickly, and users must consider whether each click to view a public record is worth the cost. But a lawsuit in court Monday in Washington challenges the government’s paywall to search online for case documents through the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.”

Update: USCIS comment period extended to February 10 (California Genealogical Society)

California Genealogical Society: Update: USCIS comment period extended to February 10. “You may have heard that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) is proposing to exponentially increase fees for retrieval of their genealogy records. In some cases this would mean raising costs as much as 500 percent. We wrote about this previously in our blog. USCIS is the repository for most immigration and naturalization records from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. The proposal has drawn protests from historians and genealogists and even from some Congressional members, most notably Senator Mitt Romney.”

Government Publishing Office: GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government Manual

Government Publishing Office: GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government Manual. “The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized historical editions of the U.S. Government Manual (the Manual), the Government’s official handbook of agency organization for all three branches of Government. Years 1935–1994 of the Manual are now freely accessible and available on govinfo, the one-stop site for authentic, published Government information.”