Archive for the ‘Iowa’ Category
The Iowa legislature is chewing over the notion that open government records may be responsible for identity theft and should be restricted. The Identity Theft Prevention Study Committee met last month and developed a collection of recommendations, including redacting certain “personal information” — that fuzzy term has yet to be defined — in public records. One of the panelists, Dan Combs of The Coalition for Sensible Public Records Access , a consortium of commercial public records aggregators, argued that redaction of public records is ineffectual and misses the supposed objective of curtailing “identity theft”, another fuzzy term. The Coalition site has position papers and summaries on public records access, such as this one on the important uses of the Social Security number by businesses and government.
What other constructive uses of the SSN identifier would you add?
Now, head down to Arizona where the Phoenix City Attorney has advised the police department to restrict disclosure of police records on the handy claim that thieves are scouring public records for personal information. The police department will start redacting victim names, birth dates of suspects AND those who are convicted and sitting in jail, and the addresses where crimes are committed. The dictum is being unevenly enforced, different types of data being excised, or not at all. Phoenix may expand this scattered policy to include code enforcement records. Which state law is this suppose to comport with?
This week in public records: Federal – Washington – Iowa – Wisconsin – California – Tennessee – Pennsylvania
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a ruling that could advance employee rights to privacy protection of their personal email generated at a workplace computer.
In Warshak v. United States, the federal court upheld the finding that e-mail users are entitled to the same expectation of privacy as persons using the telephone.
“Employers should be aware that the Sixth Court did not state that a workplace-monitoring policy will always defeat an employee’s expectation of privacy. If, for example, a company representative with appropriate authority tells an employee that the company will not read his e-mail despite the existence of a policy to the contrary, the employee may be able to argue that he did have a reasonable expectation [of privacy] in his work e-mail,” he cautioned.
“It also is possible that an employee who becomes aware of his employer’s practice not to enforce its right to monitor e-mail may be able to show that he had an expectation of privacy in his e-mail,” Gordon concluded.
For all of these reasons, said Martin Jaron, litigation partner at Holland & Knight and cochair of its electronic discovery team, this decision is just a way station in the broader discussion of privacy rights.
A Washington State Superior Court denied a request for an injunction that would have required a state agency to produce public records in electronic form. Thurston County Judge Christine Pomeroy directed the requester to seek legislative clarification, that electronic copies of records are not currently required to be produced under the Public Disclosure Act.
Inmates in Iowa jails for 23 counties are now on the Vinelink notification service. More counties and the Department of Corrections inmates will be added later this year.
The Wisconsin State Journal is suing a police department for access to police officer employment and disciplinary records. A public records request for copies of complaints brought against a particular officer was denied by the law enforcement agency.
The Oakland, California police department is in the process of updating its public records policies and training procedures. The department is also installing cameras in their patrol cars and, in this article, the records supervisor mentions that these videos will be available under the Public Records Act. Last year, Californians Aware conducted a survey of several hundred California law enforcement agencies to determine their openness to releasing records covered under the Public Records Act. The Oakland Police Department was among the agencies receiving the lowest score.
The sex offender registry for Tennessee has added a mapping program, which will go online July 1, enabling a radius search. Changes in the laws this year will increase the number of offenders required to register, make more names public that have been considered confidential and require all those convicted of a sex crime in the past, regardless of the date, to register by August 1st.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a prison telephone audiotape recording was a public record because it was played in an open court hearing. Even though the recording did not meet the evidence requirements to be submitted at trial it was nevertheless a judicial record.
See the recently added category – What’s New At… – in the left sidebar, which includes a link to the collection of databases assembled by the Asbury Park Press. Just online is the salary database of 2006 federal employees. Search by name or agency to find their salary. Not all government employees are included.
Employees involved in security work, FBI, CIA, defense department, nuclear materials, and other jobs essential to national security are excluded. The list contains most executive branch employees but does not cover the White House, Congress, the Postal Service and independent agencies and commissions.
Dust is being stirred up over the Michigan employees salary online database. Some folks in government have forgotten that they’re working for the rest of us, that transparency is critical for good government. Unfortunately, they don’t see the advantage of knowing the income of similarly employed co-workers.
The online Iowa State Employee Salary Book is searchable by name from 1993 to the present.
South Dakota’s governor is still claiming that government employee names and rate of pay are not public records.
The online versions of mainstream newspapers continue to distinguish themselves by collecting public records, then making them searchable in a database. I mentioned two sites in a posting last week – DataUniverse (New Jersey) and DataCentral (Iowa). The Boston Herald is doing its part to sunshine the workings of the Massachusetts state government in a database identified as the 2007 State Employee Payroll. This database is unique in collecting public records from the government and making them easily accessible to the public, in a form not otherwise available. Search by partial last name or agency, or combine the two. A search identifies the department, the employee’s name, the job description, weekly hours and annual rate of pay. [Via Media Nation]
The Tennessee Leaf-Chronicle isn’t giving us a unique database but it is linking to some of the public records online databases at the government Web sites.
The Honolulu Advertiser’s Boating Safety Searchable Database is drawn from Coast Guard accident reports. Not all states are included and the site has few details on the extent of the data and the compiling process. Some document images of accident reports are here. The newspaper also has links to selective public records databases hosted at government sites.
Search high school graduates, government salaried employees and high school athletes for selective counties and municipalities in Kentucky and Indiana, at the Courier-Journal DataCenter. Plot property transfers in Jefferson County, Kentucky on a map. Search by street or zip code and sort by date, address or sales price.
Death Notices, building permits and smoking complaints are among the databases collected at this Cincinnati, Ohio paper.
Search Indiana state employee salaries by name and the Indiana Attorney General consumer litigation by company name. Indiana State Police speeding violations are searchable by name or location for the past 6 months.
The Des Moines Register has a variety of types of personal information databases that it has assembled from Iowa state government records. Court fines and business executive salaries are available statewide. Vital records indexes, property transfers, high school graduates and bankruptcies for Polk County can be searched by partial name. Records are indexed for 2007 only.
Many states and local municipalities have rosters of city, county and state public officials available in a single PDF document that can be saved to your computer for later reference. Don’t confuse these rosters with the state telephone directories, which list key individuals in state government and their departments. Rosters provide names of elected and appointed officials and associated agency, with street addresses, email addresses and Web sites. Save this to your computer or print it out so you’ll know to whom to direct your public records requests.
The California Secretary of State describes the California Roster, which is online, for each of the past 5 years.
The California Roster, also known as the Roster of Public Officials, is a listing of California’s public officeholders, including our United States government officials, the Constitutional officers, members of the State Senate and Assembly, the Judicial branch, county officials, and Incorporated city and town officials.
It also includes a history of California’s office holders, descriptions of the state emblems, a listing of all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions, a listing of the unincorporated areas, and information on the state officials for each state in the nation.
The current Missouri Roster details every executive, legislative and judicial office holder, as well as each county commissioner and department director.
Some counties also publish a Roster, which, like this one produced by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, contain the same information down to the city level.
The Iowa Roster is located at the legislative site.
The Rhode Island Department of Administration Web site has the Directory of City and Town Officials, along with many other government publications. So you may have to search various government Web sites to find where a Roster is housed.
There are also 50 state directories of single agency types. Montana has a Roster of State Livestock Health Officials.
Suddenly, government directories have become more intriguing.
Search by name, city, zip code, county or offender status. Perhaps the kinks aren’t worked out, but I couldn’t get search results by any criteria. You can also map offenders, but only if you know the street address and zip code. Here’s what the database covers.
The CMVOY registry contains individuals convicted of specific crimes in which the victim was a minor, but the crime was not sexually motivated. The crimes – as defined by HB 4193, signed by Governor Blagojevich on June 27, 2006 – include kidnapping, aggravated kidnapping, unlawful restraint, aggravated unlawful restraint, and any attempt to commit any of these offenses when the victim is under 18 years of age and when the defendant is not a parent of the victim. Other offenses include forcible detention, child abduction or murder when the victim was a person under 18 years of age and the defendant was at least 17 years of age.
A Santa Clara County, California Superior Court judged has ordered the county to make its GIS property parcel mapping database available to the public at minimal cost. The California First Amendment Coalition took the county to court, upending the government’s myriad excuses for keeping the map data out of public reach. Reported by AP
A new Texas Administrative Rule institutes a prohibition in the recording of personal information by notary publics.
There’s been much debate in legislatures and government administration about which public records should be sealed. The Texas legislature is considering whether to withhold search warrant affidavits for 60 days from public view. The Nevada Legislature failed to set guidelines or restrict judges from sealing court records and now the state Supreme Court may establish its own requirements.
Iowa State regulatory boards that license professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists and psychologists will be required to release the record of formal charges against medical professionals that stem from patient complaints.