24 September 2012

National Freedom of Information Coalition

Serendipity again!  I recently stumbled across a website for the National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC).

This happened as I reading an article “Pike County (Indiana resident, newspaper sue health department to access death records” (published in the Evansville Courier & Press) and wanted to see if there was a follow-up.

EVANSVILLE — A Pike County resident and the Evansville Courier & Press are suing the Vanderburgh County Health Department to obtain access to cause of death information contained on death certificates maintained by the health department. The newspaper and Rita Ward of Winslow, Ind., contend the death certificates are public records, while the health department interprets state law to require it to restrict access to them...

I found that the blog for NFOIC summarizes state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and local open government news items every Friday and then other news items are blogged regularly.

Additionally, there is a section where information for ALL State Freedom of Information laws is provided (along with sample FOIA Request letters for all states).

FOIA laws are very important to genealogists since documentation generated by local and federal entities can be very important to our genealogy and family history research. 

Sunshine Week, celebrated around the March 16 birthday of James Madison, reminds us of the importance of records access and also the power of grass roots initiatives to keep our government open.  And “open records” are vital to us!

Part of the Sunshine Week Toolkit of Editorial Cartoons --  Credit Steve Greenberg, Los Angeles 

Tell us of a recent success you’ve had in gaining access for yourself or other genealogists and family historians into records previously unavailable and yet invaluable!

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