j360 - J360 8/27/08 Panhandling limits deemed...

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J360 – 8/27/08 Panhandling limits deemed unconstitutional in Austin, judge deems public safety  hazard not true, law was overbroad Solicitation calls into question of freedom of human beings to communicate Access to Information Government information, not private. Journalists have no special right to access  private information Who owns government information? The public. The University of Texas is a public university, an agency of the state of Texas…  should students records be open to the public? Military and law enforcement agencies’ information? The government withholds much information for safety and productiveness for  the government How do we balance legitimate interest to information our government holds to  protecting safety, other concerns? Access to Information continued Is there a constitutional basis for the public asserting access to information? Courts have decided no. Can citizens assert right to have access to jails? Journalists have no special rights to access to public places. No  constitutional right to access. Federal level law Right to access is very limited Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Attempt to bring some measure of sanity to rules that people  wanted to access information Affects only federal information State laws (Texas) Starts off by saying the government is the servant, not the master  of the people Texas Open Records Act (Public Information Act)… records  meaning anything stored by the government – online, paper, tapes,  videos, etc. Texas Open Meetings Law Writing assignment How to gain access to government records Always presumption of openness. First, you ask. Most requests journalism make for records are trivial  and most of the time will be provided. However, if a government official believes the records are outside  of the law, they may refuse. Then you write a formal letter and await a response for 10 days.
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j360 - J360 8/27/08 Panhandling limits deemed...

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