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Archive for the ‘National’

Sunshine Week 2018: Examining Open Government

March 11-17 2018 is Sunshine Week, the annual nationwide celebration highlighting the importance of freedom of information and government transparency. Sunshine Week has been recognized annually since 2005 by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. These organizations are joined by news media, government officials, academic institutions, libraries, and all people interested in open government. The broad goals are to empower the public to get involved in all levels of government, to boost public access to government information, and to use that access and information to strengthen communities and individuals.

Sunshine Week is a good time to check on our government officials’ efforts at supporting governmental transparency. According to AP News, the current administration has set a new record for censoring and withholding government information more often than at any other time over the last decade. The Associated Press analyzed data on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compliance, covering eight months under the current President. The analysis revealed that the federal government provided censored files or nothing at all in 78% of the 823,222 requests made during that time, and the government spent a record $40.6 million defending those decisions to censor and withhold.

For information on Ohio’s Sunshine Laws see:

Ohio Open Government Laws 

Ohio Attorney General: “Ohio Sunshine Laws: An Open Government Resource Manual” (Yellow Book 2018) 

Ohio Coalition for Open Government

Dame de Havilland Sues FX

On 6/30/17, the day before she turned 101, Dame Olivia de Havilland filed a complaint against FX Networks LLC, et al., in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming unauthorized use of her name and likeness to endorse a product and “false light.”  [See Case # BC667011.] The complaint concerns the portrayal of de Havilland “as a vulgarity-using gossip” in the FX docudrama Feud: Bette and Joan, violating her reputation for “honesty, integrity and good manners.” Specifically, in a scene of an interview of de Havilland at the 1978 Oscars, FX meticulously copied the dress and jewelry she wore to the 1978 Oscars (ie, “right of publicity”) as well as depicted an interview that never happened (ie, “false light”). Dame de Havilland has stated that FX never contacted her for permission or to request her input, and that she believes “in the right to free speech, but it certainly must not be abused by using it to protect published falsehoods or to improperly benefit from the use of someone’s name and reputation without their consent. … If [FX] is allowed to do this without any consequences, then the use of lies about well-known public figures masquerading as the truth will become more and more common. This is not moral and it should not be permitted.” The defendants’ motion to strike, based on California’s anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation; see CA Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16 – 425.18), was denied 9/29/17, and they are appealing in the California Court of Appeal 2nd Appellate District. [See Case # B285629.] The Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has supported Dame de Havilland with an amicus curiae brief, and several organizations (Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.; Netflix Inc., etc.) have filed amicus curiae briefs in support of the defendants/appellants. Opening arguments will be heard 3/20/18. Dame de Havilland is no stranger to difficult law suits. In 1944, after she refused some parts and Warner Brothers tacked time onto her contract, de Havilland successfully sued to get out of the contract. Her suit inspired the De Havilland Law, prohibiting the enforcement of a personal services contract beyond seven years (CA Labor Code § 2855).

Protection of Human Subjects “Common Rule” Revision Delayed

The revision of the U.S. Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects – the Common Rule – scheduled to become effective on 1/19/18, has been delayed by an interim final rule (see 83 Fed. Reg. 2885).  The effective date is now 7/19/18, but that date may be furthered delayed.  The Common Rule had been revised in a 2017 final rule, referred to as the “2018 Requirements” (see 82 Fed. Reg. 7149, 1/19/17, and 82 Fed. Reg. 43459, 9/18/17).  The Common Rule (see 45 C.F.R. 46) covers policy at 17 federal agencies, and those agencies “are in the process of developing a proposed rule to further delay implementation of the 2018 Requirements.”  Research and industry leaders believe the delay(s) will allow time for the DHHS Office for Human Research Protections to develop and provide guidance for implementation.

New Title 34 for US Code

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel has announced a new Title 34 to the U.S. Code: Crime Control and Law Enforcement. The previous Title 34 was repealed in 1956. The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives prepares and publishes the United States Code, which is a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States.

According to the Office of Law Revision Counsel, “The reorganization did not include provisions that were better retained in their current locations in the Code as part of the coverage of the following subjects:

  • Homeland security (classified generally to Title 6, Domestic Security)
  • Immigration (classified generally to Title 8, Aliens and Nationality)
  • Substantive federal crimes and federal criminal procedure (classified generally to Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure)
  • Education (classified generally to Title 20, Education)
  • Control and enforcement with respect to controlled substances (classified generally to Title 21, Food and Drugs)
  • Control of international crime (classified generally to Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse)
  • Crime control and law enforcement matters specific to Indians (classified generally to Title 25, Indians)
  • General organizational and administrative matters of the Department of Justice (classified generally to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure)
  • Transportation security (classified generally to Title 49, Transportation)
  • National defense matters (classified to Title 50, War and National Defense)”

The reorganization was implemented in the online version of the U.S. Code on September 1, 2017, and will be in the printed version beginning with Supplement V of the 2012 Edition.

Election Time…Time for Election Law Resources


Election time always is a good time to point out Election Law resources!

Election Law @ Moritz, provided by The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, is an up-to-date resource on election law including some hot topics for Ohioans.

Also from our collection:

Looking for something else on voting or election law? Check out our research guides or search Scholar!