Dear Friend of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition,
An update and a reminder: The MFOIC holds its annual meeting at 10:00am January 28, 2008 at the board room of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The Maine Freedom of Information Coalition has been very busy this past year and has accomplished much thanks to the support and encouragement of our members. Some of the highlights include:
Advocating: Dozens of Mainers have sought information on state laws, and we have helped many with advice. For the first time, the MFOIC has gone to court by supporting an amicus brief filed by the Maine Civil Liberties Union in an effort to assure records of an advisory group to the Attorney General are public.
Awards: The MFOIC board has voted to create our first formal award for supporting open meetings and access to public records. The first of what is planned to be an annual award will be announced during Sunshine Week (March 16-22) at a State House news conference.
Education: MFOIC has long maintained that most FOAA problems are from a lack of understanding of the public records and public access laws. MFOIC has sponsored or participated in several training programs for police, public officials and reporters across the state. More training needs to be done and MFOIC is committed to improving the understanding of the law. Our website (http://www.mfoic.org/) is being updated and improved.
Legislation: Legislation creating a permanent advisory committee on open meetings and public records has been implemented. The panel has recommended legislation that would create an ombudsman’s office to help the public with FOAA complaints and is working to implement the new law that mandates all elected officials receive training.
With your support MFOIC has had some successes over the past year. Still, more must be done, and we hope that you’ll give a little extra, time or money, towards the cause of open government and the good work of the Coalition.
President, Maine Freedom of Information Coalition