Archive for May 2010

Schools to Use NRA Program for Gun Education

Starting next school year, a new law allows local school boards to offer gun safety education in elementary schools, based on a program from the National Rifle Association. The law requires that the program use guidelines based on “the rules of the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program.”

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Raising Awareness About ‘Shaken Baby’ Injuries

Babies are more fragile than a lot of people think – and shaking them, in anger or playfully, can cause brain damage. Thanks to a new state law, Virginia soon will launch a campaign to inform parents and caretakers about shaken baby syndrome, which can result in blindness and death.

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Protecting Kids From Online Sexual Predators

The state’s fight against online sexual predators will get a boost when a new law takes effect July 1. The law will assess an additional $10 fee on each felony and misdemeanor conviction. The money will go into Virginia’s Internet Crimes Against Children Fund and will support the work of ICAC investigators.

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America’s Longest-Serving State Legislator

Delegate Lacey Putney is in no rush. It’s not that he isn’t busy; it’s not that he doesn’t have people waiting for him. Putney is in no rush because as the longest consecutively serving state legislator in America, he can choose to wait.

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A User-Friendly Guide to FOIA

So, you want to learn how to use FOIA? This package of stories is a guide to Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act. It’s designed to help citizens understand the law and file requests for public information.

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FOIA: It’s Not Just for Journalists Anymore

It’s no longer a rare occurrence for individual citizens to make a splash as Phil and Ellen Winter did. The couple used the Freedom of Information Act, a law that makes it possible for the public to obtain certain types of documents and access to meetings, to investigate their local government.

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FOIA Quick Facts

Various levels of government have Freedom of Information Acts. There’s a federal FOIA (to get information from federal agencies) as well as a Virginia FOIA (to obtain information from state agencies). Here’s a rundown on the federal FOIA.

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Transparency Prevails in 2010 Legislative Session

This year’s General Assembly session was a good one for transparency-related bills in Virginia. Most of the bills that were considered detrimental to those who work for open government were defeated or amended, while most bills to expand FOIA made it through both the House and Senate.

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FOIA Help Links

A comprehensive, easy-to-follow information page on the federal FOIA, including an FAQ, sample letters and a list of exemptions.

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