March 21, 2012–The Mexican Senate on March 13, 2012, approved a constitutional amendment making attacks on journalists a federal crime — which would help journalists bypass possibly corrupt local police officials. The measure must now be approved by a majority of Mexico's state legislatures.
March 7, 2012–Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R, pictured at left), who avows himself a global warming skeptic, had sought from the University of Virginia grant applications by former U.Va. climate scientist Michael Mann, creator of the "hockey stick" graph, and emails between Mann and other scientists.
February 22, 2012–A landmark Supreme Court decision awarded Port Townsend residents the right to know about the potential location of explosives on the Indian Island Naval Magazine near their town. After losing the case, the Defense Department bolstered its legal grounds for secrecy by asking Congress to slip into the 2012 Defense Authorization an amendment creating a new statutory exemption to FOIA for the DOD.
February 22, 2012–This year's Farm Bill deliberations have been less transparent than ever before. In that spirit, SEJ's WatchDog shares a backgrounder, published by the Federation of American Scientists, on the 2012 Farm Bill done by the Congressional Research Service — which keeps their taxpayer-funded reports secret from the public.
January 12, 2012–It remains to be seen how successful the House will be in timely posting of electronic versions of bills — especially when they are thousand-page appropriations bills being rammed through at the last minute. The WatchDog will be watching to see if bills are published electronically well before subcommittee markups begin.
January 12, 2012–According to the Los Angeles Times, recent directives from the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force suggest that merely filming commercial acts of cruelty to animals could be a terrorist offense — something that now can lead to indefinite military detention without trial.
January 12, 2012–In response to a request for live-streaming of the trial, the judge has expanded the gag order for the case, a class-action lawsuit seeking medical monitoring for people who may have been exposed to hazardous chemicals produced at Monsanto's former plant in Nitro, W.V.
December 14, 2011–The Portland judge ruled that blogger Crystal Cox, who published allegations against businessman Kevin Padrick and was subsequently sued by Padrick for defamation, was not a journalist as she lacked any conventional journalistic credentials or affiliations, and therefore was not entitled to the protections of the state's shield law.
December 14, 2011–Colorado, which adopted its disclosure rules December 13, 2011, joins Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states in requiring some disclosure by drillers of the chemicals they pump into shale formations under high pressures to release natural gas. Scores of chemicals, some very toxic, may be involved.
November 30, 2011–The Center for Progressive Reform looked at public records on 1,080 meetings held between October 2001 and June 2011 between the White House Office of Management and Budget and lobbyists from various interest groups. Results show the Obama administration is as bad as the Bush administration when it comes to secret meetings with industry to weaken environmental health and safety regulations.