Tag Archives: open records

North Dakota Supreme Court chambers. John Hageman / Forum News Service

We Can Still Put North Dakota’s Court Records Online, but We Need the Legislature to Weigh in First

We Can Still Put North Dakota’s Court Records Online, but We Need the Legislature to Weigh in First

Our current laws and rules may have been sufficient in an era where getting these records meant traveling to a courthouse, or at the very least, communicating with a clerk to get them mailed or emailed, but the internet has changed things. Not only can these records be accessed by anyone online, but nothing is

North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Jon Jensen (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

North Dakota Courts Take Down Expanded Records System

Our state Supreme Court justices, who are elected officials and in charge of administering the court system, owe us an explanation for how this happened, what they’re going to do to help people potentially harmed by these actions, and how they’re going to prevent something like this from happening again. Continue reading…

Grisly Crime Scene Photos, Home Addresses, and Maybe Even Your Social Security Number Are Now Online Thanks to the North Dakota Courts

MINOT, N.D. — For some time now the State of North Dakota has maintained an online database through which any member of the public can search for criminal and civil cases. When you searched all you got, though, was as sort of docket for each file. Useful for detecting the existence of, say, a traffic

Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma, left, and City Manager Tom Barry, right Photos via City of Minot

Fresh Off an Open Meeting Violation, Minot’s Mayor Is Trying to Be Sneaky About Major Changes to City Manager’s Contract

You readers are probably aware of the phenomena called a “Friday news dump.” For the uninitiated, it’s the tactic of waiting until late in the day on a Friday to make public things you don’t really want the public to notice. The idea being that by Friday evening, the people who would notice are in

Documents from a small-town records audit, conducted by the Grand Forks Herald, are displayed on a table. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

For Some of North Dakota’s Small Towns Not Even the Law Is an Open Record

North Dakota has some potent open records laws because of these two foundational requirements of government: Every record the government has is presumed open to the public unless specifically exempted by law. If a governing entity denies a request for records, they must justify the denial by citing the law exempting the records. Unfortunately, many

Attorney General: City Violated Open Meetings Law by Holding Council Meeting Out of Town

Often entities of North Dakota’s government, particularly local governments and committees and agencies, hold meetings far from their usual place of business. I’ve been critical of this practice in the past, such as when a board at North Dakota State University decided to hold an annual meeting in Minneapolis. How can a meeting of a

Former Fargo Park District executive director Joel Vettel

North Dakota’s Public Officials Should Be Required to Record Meetings Even When They’re Closed to the Public

Most of you reading this probably don’t live in Fargo, so you might not much care that the local park board there violated open meetings law, but if you’re a resident of North Dakota you should be paying attention because how this situation is being handled could very well be how some government entity in

Former Fargo parks director Joel Vettel

Attorney General: Fargo Park Board Broke the Law With Meeting at Which Former Director Joel Vettel Resigned

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has concluded that the Fargo Park Board broke open meeting law with too-vague agenda for a meeting at which former parks director Joel Vettel resigned. “The vague topic ‘HR/Staff review’ did not sufficiently describe the specific topic the commmission [sic] clearly knew it would be discussing at the special

Petitioners File photo

Organizer of Referendum Petition Campaigns Says They Don’t Have Enough Signatures Yet

A citizen-led organization calling themselves Audit the Swamp has begun gathering signatures to refer three pieces of legislation, passed by the Legislature earlier this year, to the statewide ballot. They want to block legislation appropriating money to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library project in Medora, excluding lawmaker emails to state agencies from open records requests,

Joel Vettel, former executive director of the Fargo Park District, stands in the Island Park gazebo June 15, 2017, near downtown Fargo. Forum file photo

These Fargo Elected Leaders Are Dodging Accountability and It Stinks

This post might seem like an intensely local issue, important only to people who live in Fargo, but as you read this remember the same tactic could be deployed by your local leaders. Around the 4th of July holiday Fargo Park District executive director Joel Vettel – a well-known face in the community after a

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