Washington Department of Ecology: State reviews record amount of water quality data in effort to prioritize improvements

Washington Department of Ecology: State reviews record amount of water quality data in effort to prioritize improvements. “With 65 million data points analyzed and loaded into an online database, the Washington Department of Ecology is now sharing the state’s draft Water Quality Assessment. Taking the form of an interactive online tool, the Assessment pulls together existing data for fresh and marine water.”

Free Law Project: Incorporate magistrate judges from 1990 to 2021

From the Free Law Project on GitHub: Incorporate magistrate judges from 1990 to 2021. From the resource page: “Every so often we ask the AO for stuff we can’t really get ourselves. In July of last year, we asked for a list of all magistrate judges, past and present. We already get regular updates from the FJC, but our hope was to get the historical data too. After many months of waiting, and to their immense credit, the AO did eventually deliver today. Attached please find roughly 1,000 magistrate judges that worked in the federal judiciary between 1990 and today.” I’m pretty sure that “the AO” in this case stands for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

News12: New Jersey launches searchable site of police use-of-force reports

News12: New Jersey launches searchable site of police use-of-force reports. “The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General has launched an online database that allows the public to search reports of police use of force from across the state’s more than 500 police departments. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday in a statement that the new site, which his office says is a beta, or test, version, is part of an ongoing effort to increase police accountability and openness.”

FOIA for beginners: A state law guarantees access to public records. But it isn’t always that easy. (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Tribune: FOIA for beginners: A state law guarantees access to public records. But it isn’t always that easy.. “At its core, the Freedom of Information Act is about the government being transparent and accountable to the people it’s meant to serve. Illinois’ FOIA law states ‘all persons are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government.’ Enacted in 1984 and updated with changes that took effect in 2010, the statute lays out a pretty straightforward process for citizens to obtain public records. A request doesn’t need to read like a document crafted by a law firm — it just needs to be put in writing and delivered via email, by mail or in person.”

Politico: Federal watchdog calls for centralized Covid-19 data website

Politico: Federal watchdog calls for centralized Covid-19 data website. “Federal health agencies need to be more transparent about critical Covid-19 data, particularly on race and ethnicity and infections at nursing homes, the Government Accountability Office said Wednesday. The watchdog recommended those steps as part of its call for a sweeping overhaul of federal data on Covid-19, based on its probe of efforts to collect and analyze pandemic statistics across agencies.”

The 961: There’s An Open & Free Website Showing Data On All Internal Lebanese Affairs To Increase Transparency

The 961: There’s An Open & Free Website Showing Data On All Internal Lebanese Affairs To Increase Transparency. “The IMPACT online platform has steadily grown to encompass an increasing number of sectors and domains and provided an ever-growing repository of information readily available to the public in Lebanon. IMPACT, which stands for the Inter-Ministerial and Municipal Platform for Assessment, Coordination and Tracking, is a free online database that links the citizens, local government, and central government to a common, comprehensive platform that operates on the national level.” I took a quick look. The database was presented to me in English, though sometimes when I drilled down into a section the data labels were in Arabic.

Houston Chronicle: Texas AG Ken Paxton refuses to release texts, emails sent during pro-Trump rally and Capitol riot

Houston Chronicle: Texas AG Ken Paxton refuses to release texts, emails sent during pro-Trump rally and Capitol riot. “The Texas attorney general’s office is attempting to withhold all messages Ken Paxton sent or received while in Washington for the pro-Donald Trump rally that devolved into a riot at the U.S. Capitol. Several news organizations in Texas have requested copies of the attorney general’s work-related communications. The Texas Public Information Act guarantees the public’s right to government records — even if those records are stored on personal devices or online accounts of public officials.”

Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Hide Pricing Data From Search Results

Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Hide Pricing Data From Search Results . “Hospitals that have published their previously confidential prices to comply with a new federal rule have also blocked that information from web searches with special coding embedded on their websites, according to a Wall Street Journal examination. The information must be disclosed under a federal rule aimed at making the $1 trillion sector more consumer friendly. But hundreds of hospitals embedded code in their websites that prevented Alphabet Inc.’s Google and other search engines from displaying pages with the price lists, according to the Journal examination of more than 3,100 sites.”

Brookings Institution: How to increase transparency for political ads on social media

Brookings Institution: How to increase transparency for political ads on social media. “As we set out to research the impact of the platform political ad bans, we quickly realized that there were holes in the available data that made it difficult to assess the policy intervention. In a brief recently published by the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University, we identify three significant impediments to assessing the impact of the recent political ad bans.”

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando Sentinel sues Florida Department of Health to force release of COVID variant data

Orlando Sentinel: Orlando Sentinel sues Florida Department of Health to force release of COVID variant data. “The Orlando Sentinel filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Florida Department of Health for allegedly violating the state’s public records law by refusing to release detailed information on the location of mutated strains of COVID-19, even as such cases rapidly multiplied.”

Washington Post: Manhattan district attorney to release years of racial data as part of nationwide accountability push

Washington Post: Manhattan district attorney to release years of racial data as part of nationwide accountability push. “The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Thursday will grant the public access to more than seven years worth of racial data that the top prosecutor here says has informed his approach to criminal justice reform. The database will include race and gender information related to charging decisions, plea-deal offers, bail amounts and sentencing.”

Gothamist: NYPD Rejects City Council Request To Release More Internal Misconduct Records

Gothamist: NYPD Rejects City Council Request To Release More Internal Misconduct Records. “Over the last several months, the NYPD has insisted that it is working to increase transparency and accountability ahead of an April 1st state deadline for police reforms. But at a City Council hearing on Tuesday, the NYPD’s leadership declined to publish more comprehensive data on police misconduct investigations.”

GovExec: New Bill Would Increase Transparency of Presidential Records

GovExec: New Bill Would Increase Transparency of Presidential Records. “Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, will introduce the ‘Presidential Records Preservation Act,’ which would update the ‘1978 Presidential Records Act’ by requiring the president, vice president, and other senior White House officials to ‘make and preserve records’ that document the president’s official activities. The ‘Federal Records Act,’ which oversees record keeping in the executive and legislative agencies, the judiciary and a few executive offices, has a similar provision.”

National Security Archive: “Still Interested” Letters Add Insult to Injury of Long-Ignored FOIA Requests

National Security Archive: “Still Interested” Letters Add Insult to Injury of Long-Ignored FOIA Requests. “The National Security Archive’s 2021 Sunshine Week Audit has found that many agencies still abuse ‘still interested’ letters – out of the 84 ‘still interested’ letters we received between November 2019 and the present, 17 provided fewer than 30 days to respond. Put another way, more than one in five, or 20 percent, of all ‘still interested’ letters the Archive received in the last year and a half did not follow OIP guidance.” I didn’t know much about “still interested” letters, but MuckRock