4 lessons from the federal open records process

COMMENTARY | State and local governments can take a page from the federal government’s FOIA playbook to boost their own efficiency and transparency.

As elections loom, congressional maps challenged as discriminatory will remain in place

With control of the House of Representatives hanging in the balance, the time-consuming appeals process means elections in multiple districts will take place using maps that have been challenged as discriminatory to voters of color.

Election laws fighting AI deepfakes need to be targeted and adaptable, report says

The technology’s use in voter suppression cannot be underestimated, according to a report from the progressive group NewDEAL. It recommends how states can craft laws to combat the threat.

Sunshine Week brings attention to state efforts to overhaul open records laws

As technology renders decades-old open records policies obsolete, states look to overhaul them. It is pitting government officials against good-government groups and reporters.

Trust in government, and opportunities to rebuild it

Confidence in state and local government may have been waning in recent years, but there are ways communities can help to bolster their resident’s faith in them.

Connect with state & local government leaders

Police departments are turning to AI to sift through millions of hours of unreviewed body-cam footage

Body camera video equivalent to 25 million copies of “Barbie” is collected but rarely reviewed. Some cities are looking to new technology to examine this stockpile of footage to identify problematic officers and patterns of behavior.

How Chicago became an unlikely leader in body-camera transparency

The city has a long history of brutal, violent policing, but its latest approach to body-worn cameras and police oversight could serve as a national model.

How police have undermined the promise of body cameras

Hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars have been spent on what was sold as a revolution in transparency and accountability. Instead, police departments routinely refuse to release footage—even when officers kill.

A road map for the lawful use of stop-and-frisk in Philadelphia–and elsewhere

With adequate training of officers and clear guidelines that increase transparency, police can use stop-and-frisk as a lawful mechanism to reduce crime and violence, while honoring residents’ constitutional rights.

2024 mission for state and local leaders: Protect democracy

COMMENTARY | By making voting easy, transparent and secure, state and local leaders can ensure election systems remain strong in 2024.

How efforts to restrict democracy in Ohio also make it harder to fight climate change

Gerrymandering, voter suppression, dark money and other moves insulate policymakers from accountability when they prop up fossil fuels at the expense of clean energy.

After George Floyd’s murder, more states require release of police disciplinary records

Lawmakers and advocates say open data on police disciplinary records would boost transparency, accountability and the ability to identify patterns of misconduct in law enforcement agencies.

AI could shore up democracy—Here’s one way

COMMENTARY | Public comment could soon swamp government officials and representatives, thanks to AI, but AI could also help spot compelling stories from constituents.

AI Is Used Widely, but Lawmakers Have Set Few Rules

Connecticut is the latest state to legislate new guardrails for artificial intelligence.

Key Parts of US Laws are Hard for the Public to Find and Read

Oblique or missing references to standards and codes specified by law make it difficult for judges, lawyers and the general public to comply with regulations.

3 Ways Governments Can Regain Citizens’ Trust

COMMENTARY | Transparency, efficiency and accountability are the key ingredients to rebuilding confidence.

States and Cities are Moving to Make Virtual Hearings Permanent

In the nation's statehouses and city halls, officials want remote meetings to outlast the Covid-19 crisis. Disability advocates are among those who support the idea. Others worry about the loss of in-person interactions and diminished oversight.

Mayor Snagged in WhatsApp Debate

Use of the encrypted messaging app by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration rekindles discussion over apps that allow officials to skirt the spirit, if not the letter, of open records laws.

Legislation Seeks to Block Secrecy With Economic Development Deals

Bills put forward in at least three states aim to ensure there's transparency around tax breaks and other incentives.

How One City is Working to Make Spending Data More Transparent

Efforts by Los Angeles' controller to open up city fiscal data took on an added dimension when Covid-19 hit.