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How is the theme chosen for each year's National FOI Day?
 
Does the First Amendment guarantee a general 'right of access' to government information?
 
Who can file a FOIA request?
 
How long does it take to get information under FOIA?
 
Can I request information from my congressman through FOIA?
 
What information cannot be obtained through FOIA?
 
How do you appeal a denial of information under FOIA?
 
How can I find out more about the open records act in my state?
 
Must a federal agency produce records in an electronic format if asked to?
 
What are open-meetings laws?
 
Aren’t open-meetings laws unconstitutional? After all, don’t they infringe upon the speech of the members of governing bodies?
 
How do states deal with violations of open-meetings laws?
 
Many states and municipalities are now webcasting public meetings. Can they forbid reproduction of the meeting videos by members of the public?
 
Are city councils and similar public bodies required to have periods for public comment at meetings?
 
How can I find out more about the open meetings act in my state?
 
Can public officials violate state open-meetings laws by sending e-mails?
 
Do state open-meeting laws specifically address e-mail communications?
 
Do court transcripts fall under FOI? Can they be withheld from litigants?
 
Are states making court records available electronically for the public?
 
Does the public have access to documents such as water-quality, toxic-waste and bridge-safety reports?
 
 

The public has a great degree of access to water-quality reports thanks to the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has collected information on every public drinking water system in the United States and has it stored in a database called the Safe Drinking Water Information System. Most of the information in this database is made available to the public and can be seen on the EPA’s Web site.

The public also has a great degree of access to toxic-waste reports thanks to another EPA database called the Toxics Release Inventory, which contains information regarding toxic chemicals for communities across the nation.

Before the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis in early August 2007, the public had a greater range of access to bridge-safety reports from local governments. Since then, however, the Department of Homeland Security has informed states that some of the information contained within the reports might be used by people who are planning to conduct terrorist or criminal acts related to bridges. Because of this, a majority of states still fill the public’s requests for bridge information but provide a lot less information than they had previously supplied.

 
 
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Last system update: Friday, July 25, 2008 | 06:57:24
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