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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Del. open government bill would exempt legislators' e-mails

Oh, the irony! Sure, the bill would subject the Delaware General Assembly to FOIA, meaning that the legislature would no longer be exempt from open-meeting laws. However, an amendment would exempt from FOIA all e-mails "received and sent by members of the Delaware General Assembly or their staff" in order to protect the privacy of constituents who e-mails legislators with "their deepest, darkest secrets."
Even as the House mulls a bill intended to make more of the General Assembly's work public, an amendment is being shopped around that would have the opposite effect.

The draft amendment to House Bill 1, which itself would subject the General Assembly to the Freedom of Information Act, would close off access to some information that now is considered public.

The Legislature currently is exempt from the state's open-meeting law, and legislators' e-mails have long been assumed to be covered by that exemption. However, a legal opinion circulating in Legislative Hall concludes that legislators' e-mails to state agencies covered by FOIA are open to public scrutiny.

More here.

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