In an effort to promote greater civic engagement, the Office of Open Government (OOG) is looking ahead to making sure District residents know that they too can call upon the OOG for help. Agencies and public bodies are well aware of the OOG and utilize it as a resource for FOIA and OMA matters. And just as the OOG assists the government, it carries an equal mandate to ensure that the public is properly gaining access to records and meetings. To that and, we’ve decided to take the show on the road! In the coming months, the OOG will become more visible city-wide by conducting more outreach and trainings of civic and community associations, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations on FOIA and the OMA. We look forward to serving a greater segment of the public with the same level of professionalism and expertise that we serve each of you. Remember, the OOG is here to help so please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance!
Thanks Bob for your leadership! The Office of Open Government wishes you the very best in your new role as the Chief Executive Officer of the District of Columbia Bar.
Strengthening Government Transparency Amendment Act of 2017. On March 15, 2017, Councilmembers David Grosso and Mary Cheh co- introduced Bill 22-0188, the “Strengthening Government Transparency Amendment Act of 2017.” Provisions of the bill include: (1) establishing the Office of Open Government as the body to resolve FOIA request Appeals; (2) extending the time a public body has to respond to a FOIA request from 15 to 20 days; (3) allowing all FOIA fees to revert to the agency, rather than the General Fund; and (4) requiring that all public bodies publish meeting dates and records on the OOG Central Calendar.
The “ANC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016” completes Congressional Review. On April 7, 2017 the "Advisory Neighborhood Commission Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016" became effective as D.C. Law 21-0269. Provisions of the bill include requirements that: (1) the OOG develop a training program and materials on the DC FOIA for ANCs; (2) the OOG provide a training session at least twice annually on ANC obligations under FOIA; (3) ANCs must publish on the ANC website a draft agenda for each meeting no fewer than seven calendar days in advance of the regular meeting; and, (4) ANCs must post all meeting notices, questions and comments on a central online portal.
OOG Testifies at Performance Oversight Hearing. On February 23, 2017, OOG Director Traci L. Hughes, Esq., provided testimony before the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety on the OOG’s public operations. Highlights of Director Hughes’ testimony include: (1) the OOG has answered nearly 400 requests for substantive and technical advice on FOIA and the OMA, from agencies, public bodies, the public, and non-profit entities who serve the District’s most vulnerable residents; and, (2) to make it easier for the public and agencies to view OOG advisory opinions, the OOG will launch an online dashboard. Read the entire testimony here
Sunshine Week 2017. On March 14, 2017, the OOG attended the sixth annual D.C. Open Government Summit at the National Press Club. The focus of this year’s summit was the state of government transparency in the District of Columbia. There was also a series of talks on topics which included body camera legislation, access to government official’s text messages and open data.
FOP v. District of Columbia, 139 A.3d 853, 2016 D.C. App. LEXIS 168, 2016 WL 3031351 (D.C. 2016). In Fop v. DC, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that: (1) under D.C. Official Code §2-532(c) the requestor need only “reasonably” describe the requested record, which does not mean with “specificity”; (2) no provision of D.C. FOIA provides that a requester’s failure to reasonably describe records to the FOIA Officer’s satisfaction will render the request void; (3) the regulations impose an informative obligation on FOIA officers to engage requesters to seek out information to fulfill the request under 1 DCMR 402.5; (4) a search limited to eight email addresses, accompanied by the FOIA officer’s affidavit that did not explain the limited search, does not constitute a reasonable search; and, (5) D.C. FOIA does not permit a determination that certain FOIA requests are void due to the size of the request
Pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 2-538(a) & (c), on February 3, 2017, the Council received the annual FOIA reports of each District of Columbia public body for the preceding fiscal year. To view this report click here. Additionally, on February 1, 2017, the Office of the Attorney General submitting to the Council the listing of FOIA cases that were in litigation for the preceding fiscal year. To view this report click here.
The Associated Press reports that the federal government spent a recording setting $36.2 million in legal costs to defend FOIA lawsuits in 2016. learn more…
Find all OOG FOIA trainings/Open Records trainingshere…
“Vaughn Index” is a privilege log that lists each item under FOIA and explains the statutory basis for refusing to produce the record.
“Reasonably segregable” a record provided to a requester after redacting those portions of the record that qualifies for a FOIA exemption and may be withheld from disclosure.(See D.C. Official Code §2- 534(b)).
“Adequacy/reasonableness of search” is a search calculated to uncover all relevant documents made by a requester. An agency's search conducted in response to a FOIA request need not be perfect, only adequate, and adequacy is measured by the reasonableness of the effort in light of the specific request. See FOP v. District of Columbia, 139 A.3d 853, 2016 D.C. App. LEXIS 168, 2016 WL 3031351 (D.C. 2016)
The DC Archives: A Fantastic Resource for Resesarchers Interested in genealogy? Writing a paper on Frederick Douglass’ role as the first African American Recorder of Deeds in Washington, DC? Want to learn more about DC Emancipation Day? All this and much, is available at the District of Columbia Archives. The District of Columbia Archives holds historical and permanently valuable records of the DC Government, such as birth and death records, wills, land records and marriage records. Location: 1300 Naylor Court, NW. Telephone: 202-671-1105. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Taken from the DC Archives website to learn more click here.
The Office of Open Government maintains the only central calendar for public bodies. Public bodies can meet all Open Meeting Act “Notice of Meetings” (D.C. Official Code § 2-576) and “Record of Meeting” (D.C. Official Code § 2-578) requirements by publishing online at OPEN-DC.gov. The site is user-friendly, and allows public bodies to securely publish from their desktops. The site also provides an area where entities may list member names and roles with their respective public bodies. A password and login information is necessary to publish on OPEN-DC.gov. Please contact Waddah Kittab at wadddah.kittab.@dc.gov for assistance in getting started on OPEN-DC.gov.
The Office of Open Government issues binding advisory opinions to public bodies on compliance with the Act. The opinions establish precedent on compliance.View all opinions...
|May 24, 2017||John A. Wilson Building, Room G-9||5:30-7:00 pm|
|June 25, 2017||John A. Wilson Building, Room G-9||11:00a-12:30 pm|
|July 26, 2017||John A. Wilson Building, Room G-9||5:30 -7:00 pm|