Archive for the ‘Florida’ Category
The final report issued by the Florida Commission on Open Government Reform recommends how the State of Florida can make its government records more accessible to the public. The report should be read by anyone concerned with open government and the future of public records in Florida. Among the proposed changes in the law, the panel suggests that investigations of complaints filed against professional licensees would become a public record after the case is closed. The Commission proposes enhanced electronic access to government records, lifting the restriction on release of lists of retirees, reducing fees for some public records and opening child abuse and adult mistreatment investigations. Read the press.
The Texas Attorney General has finally around to offering a service previously available in most other states: a charities online database. A search using the Texas Charitable Organizations Search Tool returns a summary of the organization, sometimes with a revenue graph, and a link to the IRS 990 forms. As of this date none of the 990 forms were yet available. Search by these fields, individually or in combination: organization name or word in the name, city, state, type of activity and employer identification number. An information page explains how to read a form 990 and links to other charity lookups.
Find the Florida charities search (“Gift Givers’ Guide”) buried deep in the Division of Consumer Services site.
Here’s a very positive story about a PI firm in California that was working on a local case stumbled upon a teen MySpace cyberstalker. As a result of their investigation, Lee County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest in the Southwest Florida county.
The private investigators found a web page for a Southwest Florida teen who deputies say made some very serious threats. The web page was allegedly put together by a teen that goes by the user name, Bloody Bon3. The teen is now charged with cyberstalking for using MySpace to threaten other people.
More details can be read here.
Some states, counties and towns list current registered voters on a Web site. But you might also look for databases and PDF files that voter registrars and town clerks compile of formerly registered voters. States and local agencies variously refer to these non current registered voters lists as purged, inactive or excluded. Use advanced search operators at a search engine to search by different phrases, file types and site domains to identify inactive voters lists. Here are a few I found.
Darien, Connecticut roll of inactive voters.
Voter Purge List, Madison County, Alabama residents.
City of St. Louis Inactive Voters List.
Knox County, Tennessee Purged Inactive Voters is available as of 2005.
Inactive Voter Status – Barnstable, Massachusetts
And, just to remind us that easy come, easy go…In 2000, People for the American Way published a Central Voter File Exclusions List of registered voters Florida planned to purge from the rolls as purported felons. The list was never used and People for the American Way has since removed it from their server.
It will be easier to find Florida public records through a Google search without having to mine each government database, now that the Florida state government has a cooperative arrangement with Google to index their sites.
Search the name “Villalobos” within Florida government records by formulating this query:
All of the initial results are for Senator Villalobos at the legislature’s Web site. If he’s not your target, search again, removing that site:
One set of public records is various state license holders.
Examine the search results to uncover new types of public records. Scroll down to the link to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement document listing a “Villalobos” among those receiving an Intoxilyzer test. If you go to the public records section at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Alcohol Testing Program you’ll see a jumble of files that aren’t searchable here, but content within them can be plumbed at a search engine.
This document image tells you that Villalobos’ arrest took place in Broward County, which is helpful because names in the Florida court case indices won’t come up in a search engine.
I previously wrote about the other state governments – Arizona, California, Utah and Virginia - whose sites Google is also indexing.
Names of those arrested and detained in an immigration raid must be disclosed, as ordered by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. Documents were retained by the state’s Department of Public Safety, which made them subject to disclosure under the Connecticut open records law .
A Florida judge overruled a local school board in determining that the names of all school employees enrolled in the deferred retirement plan must be released under the state’s public records law.