Supreme Court rejects Upside Down First Amendment claim

The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a First Amendment claim by a Nevada lawmaker who argued that the state's conflict of interest laws requiring elected officials to recuse themselves from governance votes on issues where they have a conflict of interest violated his free speech rights.It was an odd, but important case.  In a nutshell, the case involved Sparks, Nev., city councilman Michael A.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: If it ‘looks like, smells like, walks like, and quacks like a duck’ — then FOIA it!

The nonprofit lobbying organizations that represent city councils, school boards and other governmental entities are undergoing significant, and much-needed, scrutiny by state legislatures and in the courts.The disclosure that the (since-removed) head of the Iowa Association of School Boards received an under-the-table raise boosting her annual pay to an eye-popping $367,000 -- three times what the governor of Iowa makes -- prompted Iowa legislators to patch a loophole in state law and require the IASB to make its records and meetings public just as the Association's member school boards must.Associations representing school boards, superintendents and principals wield enormous influence over policy-making at the state level, and are able to trade on their "quasi-public" goodwill when it suits their strategic purposes.

More aware in Delaware? House bill would, finally, open university meetings and records

In 1743, Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Gazette published a notice announcing the arrival of a new public institution of higher learning:

We are informed that there is a Free-School opened at the House of Mr. Alison in Chester County, for the Promotion of Learning, where all Persons may be instructed in the Languages and some other Parts of Polite Literature, without any Expences for their Education.
In the centuries since Presbyterian clergyman Francis Alison opened the doors of a 12-student academy in his modest home two miles outside the village of New London, much about the University of Delaware has radically transformed.But this much has not: The public had no legal right to demand access to its meetings or records in 1743, and it still doesn't today.State Rep.

Editors sue student council for closed meetings

The Mirror’s former editor in chief Jessica Perciante, current editor in chief Heath Urie and current managing editor Christopher Marcheso allege that the university’s Student Representative Council and its president, Steve Gustafson, knowingly violated state open-meetings laws when they conducted closed-door meetings on Sept. 24, 2003, Nov. 19, 2003, and Feb. 4, 2004.