The Obama administration has unveiled a series of pilot programs that will explore a "release to one, release to all" policy for responding to Freedom of Information Act requests. Currently, federal agencies are only required to publicly share released records that are requested three or more times, while the new policy will remove this threshold. The Justice Department's Office of Information Policy is leading the initiative, which will also be tested out over the next six months within the offices of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the National Archives and Records Administration. If successful in terms of minimal agency cost and burden, the pilot could expand elsewhere within the executive branch.
Los Angeles is unveiling a pilot car-sharing program aimed at steering thousands of residents in poor neighborhoods away from purchasing cars of their own by providing publicly available hybrid or electric cars instead. The program will put 100 such vehicles and more than 100 charging stations in lower-income communities in central Los Angeles. The goal is to recruit thousands of potential car-sharing users to the program, eventually leading to 1,000 privately owned cars being taken off the road, decreasing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions. Residents of more modest means would also spend a smaller share of their paychecks on transportation. The program is a partnership between the city, the California Air Resources Board, and the Shared-Use Mobility Center, a nonprofit based in Chicago.
Beginning this fall, Winston-Salem, NC, will be a pilot site for a Community Innovation Lab that targets social challenges by bringing together diverse stakeholders and integrating artists and artistic practice into the problem-solving process. Representatives from city agencies, churches, cultural organizations, community organizers, business leaders, artists, and nonprofits first hope to develop nontraditional responses to inequities in employment, income, and wealth in the city. The pilot is being spearheaded by EmcArts, with funding from the Kresge Foundation.
As summer draws to a close, states continue to encourage the digital generation to pursue outdoor activities in their state parks. Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Carolina have sponsored trips, conservation programs, and outdoor instruction to educate students about wildlife, ecology, and outdoor sports. Other states have sought to attract teens to their parks by creating conservation job corps programs. States hope that these programs foster active lifestyles as well as encourage appreciation of nature in the young that will hopefully translate into support for parks when they are older.
Cybersecurity is a hot topic, and schools are incorporating it into after-school programs and classroom lessons. For a generation that has grown up with computers and ever-present data breaches, schools are devising methods to teach kids how to navigate the online world in ways that keep them from being a victim of online threats as well as instilling best practices to secure the integrity of their online reputations.