N.H. Governor’s Policy to Destroy Records Within 30 Days Raises Transparency Concerns | “The whole policy smacks in the face of what the Right to Know and Part 1 Article 8 of the New Hampshire constitution calls for, which is open, responsive and accountable government,” NEFAC President Gregory V. Sullivan told The Boston Globe. “Destroying records with such rapidity just seems to be counter to both the spirit and the letter of the law.”

Rhode Island Open Meetings and Public Commentary | Attorney Raymond A. Marcaccio, co-founder of Oliverio & Marcaccio LLP, addresses common challenges to the public’s right to speak at open meetings and helps clarify when and how government officials can restrict the speech of those in attendance. View this lesson and many others in our Rhode Island FOI Guide. All our state open meeting law lessons can be viewed here.

Keeping the Light on in New Hampshire: Holding Government Accountable | The New England First Amendment Coalition celebrated Sunshine Week with a discussion on open government in New Hampshire. NEFAC President Gregory V. Sullivan joined Casey McDermott of NHPR, Gilles Bissonnette of the ACLU-NH, the Hon. N. William Delker and Emily Gray Rice, city solicitor for Manchester to explore recent right-to-know issues.

NEFAC Joins WGBH’s Boston Public Radio| New England First Amendment Coalition Executive Director Justin Silverman recently joined hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to explore government transparency concerns in Massachusetts. The three discussed the state’s public records law, legislation to require hybrid access to government meetings and why everyone in the state should wave the banner for more sunshine in the Commonwealth.

Honor Sunshine Week By Requiring Hybrid Access to Government Meetings | In an op/ed appearing in publications across the region, NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman wrote that hybrid access “provides equity and engagement in our democracy that many members of our communities would not otherwise enjoy. We need to change our open meeting laws now to make sure this access is available long after the pandemic has run its course.”

30 Minute Skills: How to Pitch a Story | Whether you are a student journalist or a seasoned professional, pitching a story can be a challenge. By viewing this lesson, you’ll learn: (1) why pitching a story is a critical skill for journalists of all backgrounds and employment status (2) how to develop relationships with those who will be considering your pitch and (3) how to craft and deliver the most effective pitch for your stories.

Connecticut: Open Meetings and Public Comment | William S. Fish, Jr., partner at Hinckley Allen, explains when the public has a right to speak at government meetings. He describes the state’s Freedom of Information Act and addresses when public officials are able to restrict the speech of citizens. View all NEFAC’s open meeting and public records law lessons. You can also learn more about Connecticut’s open meeting law in our FOI Guide.

Celebrate Sunshine Week with NEFAC | The New England First Amendment Coalition is celebrating Sunshine Week with several open government programs and an op/ed available to all newsrooms and advocates for publication. The goal of Sunshine Week — March 12-18 this year with related events occurring throughout the month — is to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information.

High School Students: Learn How to Make Your Voices Heard Through Journalism | NEFAC and the Student Press Law Center recently hosted a discussion on student journalism as part of the third annual Massachusetts Civic Learning Week. The state-wide celebration is organized by the Massachusetts Civics Learning Coalition in partnership with students, teachers and other community organizations from across the state. All students and educators were invited to attend.

NEFAC, ACLU Defend ‘Clearly Established’ Right to Publish Information on Matters of Public Concern | “When information involves a matter of public concern, the First Amendment protects publishers from both prior restraint and subsequent punishment, absent a demonstrated need to vindicate a state interest of the ‘highest order’,” wrote the New England First Amendment Coalition and the ACLU of Massachusetts in a March 2 amicus brief.

Educators: First Amendment, Journalism and Open Government Resources Available | NEFAC recently visited Wayland (Mass.) High School to discuss the First Amendment with journalism students. The coalition provides educators a variety of resources to incorporate into their classroom lessons each academic year. The materials and services we offer address a range of First Amendment topics, journalism skills and freedom of information laws. Learn more.

30 Minute Skills: How to Invoke the Fair Report Privilege | The fair report privilege is a state-law defense to libel actions when journalists report on or republish defamatory statements made by government. By viewing this lesson, you’ll learn (1) how the fair report privilege works (2) where to find out if your state has a fair reporting privilege and, if so, its scope of protection and (3) good practices you can begin now to make your reporting more likely covered by the privilege.

Celebrate #StudentPressFreedom Day | To celebrate the fifth annual Student Press Freedom Day on Feb. 23, the New England First Amendment Coalition is highlighting the story of two former student newspaper editors who encountered censorship at Burlington (Vt.) High School in 2018. The coalition and its partners are also calling on all student journalists to share their own stories this week in celebration of student press freedoms.

Vermont: Open Meetings and Public Comment | NEFAC’s Lia Ernst, legal director at the ACLU of Vermont, explains when the public has a right to speak at government meetings. She describes how the First Amendment and Vermont law allow public officials to restrict that right and under what circumstances. View all NEFAC’s open meeting and public records law lessons. You can also learn more about Vermont’s open meeting law in our FOI Guide.

Gov. Maura Healey Says Her Office is Exempt From the State’s Public Records Law. What That Means for All of Us in Massachusetts | NEFAC Executive Director Justin Silverman recently spoke to Yasmin Amer at WBUR’s Radio Boston about the state’s public records law. Massachusetts is just one of two states that arguably exempts the governor’s office. Silverman joined WBUR investigative reporters Todd Wallack and Beth Healy. Listen to full program.