WatchDog TipSheet

Are Health Warnings on Soda Unconstitutional? Industry Says Yes

The American Beverage Association, California State Outdoor Advertising Association and California Retailers Association have sued the city of San Francisco for requiring health warnings on advertisements for certain sugary beverages when posted on city property, saying it violates their First Amendment rights.

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Filming in Parks and Forests: The Alaskan Angle

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has proposed a bill that would (among other things) set a flat $200 annual fee to permit unlimited shooting by film crews of five or fewer. Now Corbin Hiar reports for E&E Daily that Murkowski's filmmaker nephew faced the fees-and-permits barrier when he wanted to film in the Tongass National Forest.

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EPA Crisis Communications Plan: Accurate, Timely, Approved Information

EPA's Plan, approved back on January 15, 2009, mandates giving "understandable, timely, accurate, and consistent information to the public." The plan laudably emphasizes coordination with other agencies — but it also leads to strong message control.

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Secret Congressional Background Reports Leak Again; Debate Continues

Here are some recently leaked CRS reports of relevance to environmental journalists, as well as the latest on the debate following the NYT editorial calling for the reports to be made public.

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Backroom Plot To Scuttle Wisconsin FOIA Falls to Disclosure, Outrage

When a stealth legislative move to dismantle Wisconsin's open records law was revealed this month, a statewide uproar caused sponsors to back off. Appropro that the old lesson "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" would be taught once again around July 4, 2015.

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Release-to-One, Release-to-All FOIA Pilot Shakes Some Journos

A new pilot program would make available to the public automatically and immediately any information released to an individual FOIA requester. But some journalists would rather not have their pending scoops revealed before they are ripe. Image source: U.S. government.

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New York Times Editorial Calls for Release of CRS Reports

The WatchDog has long whined about Congress' mystifying refusal to let taxpayers read Congressional Research Service reports the taxpayers have paid for. A June 17, 2015, editorial in the New York Times called the situation "absurd," expressing hope that a new director of the Library of Congress (home of the CRS) would manage to get the policy changed.

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Oil Train Routing Information Still Disclosed, Key to Public Safety

The mandate for disclosure of oil train information set by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in a May 2014 emergency order still exists. But getting that information will be harder — and a battle that must be fought by reporters and public safety advocates on a state-by-state basis.

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