This week’s FOIA round-up: Alaskans sue Interior for oil drilling information, data shows federal aid favors the wealthiest farmers, and Los Angeles pension trustees spend big on international getaway
In this week’s FOIA round-up, Alaska natives sued the Trump Administration for concealing information regarding oil drilling, an environmental advocacy group shows that the bulk of U.S. farm aid goes to wealthy farmers, and members of the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement draw public scrutiny after going on pricey international vacations.
Public records advocates have always fought for stronger laws that allow for better oversight and accountability. Despite these efforts, law enforcement agencies are still finding loopholes to allow for the retention of information. While new police transparency bills in California and a recent public records overhaul in Massachusetts are huge victories for access, requesters still face serious barriers when trying to peek past the thin blue line.
Legislative bodies in four states have made themselves exempt from public record laws. Despite their roles in literally enacting those laws, they are not held to the same standards of transparency as the rest of the governmental bodies in those states.
The care rape victims receive is entirely dependent on where the crime occurred. Good sexual assault response policies are comprised of a number of initiatives, including (but not limited to) specific officer training, a victim-centered approach, access to victim advocates, guidelines for submitting kits to labs, and victim notification. Based on what we’ve seen in our reporting so far, we’ve rounded up a list of the five best - and the five worst - sexual assault response policies across the country.
Great sexual assault evidence collection policies exist, but continue to be the exception to the rule
The best sexual assault policies adopted by this country’s law enforcement agencies illustrate a careful balancing act - Gardner, Massachusetts, with its victim-focused approach, a team of officers trained in handling sexual assault, and clear evidence collection policies, stands out. But until every police department in the country has these, the national backlog will continue to exist.