The Massachusetts Legislature this month extended the option for public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law to continue conducting meetings virtually with remote access for members of the public.
“While we are pleased that remote access to and participation in public meetings remains an option through March, we are disappointed that the Massachusetts Legislature could not agree on permanent reforms at this time," said NEFAC and other open government advocates. "Lawmakers must prioritize this issue at the start of the next session; Massachusetts can’t afford to shut the door on members of the community who have too often been left out of our political process. [...]
Do social media companies unfairly censor speech or allow misinformation to flourish? NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman recently joined Anna Brown at Citizens Count, Professor John Greabe at Franklin Pierce School of Law, Professor Meg Mott and NHPR’s Nick Capodice for a conversation about the First Amendment and social media regulation. The program was part of the New Hampshire Humanities "Ideas on Tap" series.
The first step in database analysis is learning how spreadsheets function and how data can be used to share compelling stories. This is the first of two introductory classes on Microsoft Excel. By viewing this class, you will learn:
• How to sort and filter data imported into Microsoft Excel.
• How to use the sum, median, percent and whole functions.
• Other basic functions of Excel that can be used to begin database analysis.
NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman spoke earlier this month to Terry Stackhouse at WMTW about the Maine Freedom of Access Act and how it applies to school surveillance videos.
“You would very likely see law enforcement agencies being hesitant to release this kind of information until they’ve been able to go through it and make sure all their officers acted appropriately,” Silverman said. [...]
The New England First Amendment Coalition is continuing its series on freedom of information laws with new classes on state open meeting statutes.
The classes feature local attorneys who provide an overview of their respective state’s open meeting law and answer questions from those who attend.
This latest round of classes is provided by NEFAC with support from the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, SPJ New England, the Rhode Island Foundation, MuckRock and the New England Society of News Editors. [...]
View Previous Lessons and Register For Upcoming Classes
“Worcester residents deserve to know why the city made the decisions it did,” said Justin Silverman, the executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “While officials may be able to hide records behind attorney-client privilege, they are not required to do so. They can and should provide more transparency.”
Silverman continued: “The city acted in bad faith by withholding police records and then proceeded to spend a significant amount of tax dollars needlessly litigating the Telegram case. Those who made the decisions to do so must be held accountable. But that accountability will never occur unless we know more about why those decisions were made in the first place.” [...]
The new Maine law would ban 421 of the 120,000 vanity plates in circulation. Plates could be recalled for obscene language, racist content and references to genitalia, among other things. Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, said the guidelines are “unconstitutionally broad and vague,” thus inviting lawsuits against the state. [...]
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