This week’s FOIA round-up: the ethics of mining in Minnesota, problems with for-profit companies in the legal system, and ICE detention records contradict Trump administration statements on migrants
In this week’s FOIA round-up, calendars and emails reveal communication between Trump administration officials and corporate executives in a mining project, a contract with a private pretrial services firm raises questions about the role of for-profit companies in the legal system, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention records reveal that rates of people detained with criminal records has decreased in the past couple of years. Also, a Supreme Court ruling is bad news for people seeking government records pertaining to private entities.
The new year is in full-swing, and public records advocates are getting ready for another year of FOIA and state records law fun. The end of the year usually marks an eventful time full of joy, rest, and relaxation. Yet some jurisdictions decided to make some changes at the eleventh hour, both for the better and the worse. But don’t worry, we compiled a list of FOIA related changes that happened over the holidays so you don’t miss a thing.
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.
After Belle Plaine, Minnesota erected a memorial depicting a solider kneeling at a cross, the Satanic Temple proposed a memorial of their own own - and as recently released emails show, there was Hell to pay for the beleaguered city council.
As a little experiment in transparency, MuckRock set out to file for pet licensing data for the most populous city in each state. After waiting a month for Wichita, Kansas and 11 days for Minneapolis, Minnesota we expected to find purr-fectly aligned rows and columns filled with dog names - instead, the cat overlords struck again, and we were met with a combined fee of over $100. You cat to be kitten me.