Wed
Sep 3 2008
05:47 pm

Dorothy Bowles, U.T. Professor and member of the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists, alerts us to a proposal that would make it more difficult and expensive for citizens and journalists to access public records.

The deadline for public comment, which was only announced this week, is noon tomorrow (Thursday) and the hearing is on Friday. You can submit your comments here: open.records@state.tn.us

Dorothy has provided the following background info:

Fee proposal summary

Fee proposal issues

ETSPJ comments on fee proposals

She explains more after the jump...

From Dorothy Bowles:

As you know, the recently enacted TN Open Records Act established a legal counsel's office to set fees for record requests in an attempt to have some consistency across the state.

Unfortunately, the statute allows for BOTH copying costs and labor costs.

The statute also established an Advisory Committee on Open Government, and I was appointed one of the members of that committee.

FRIDAY (yes, day after tomorrow) a public hearing will take place on a proposal that was only this week distributed by the legal counsel's office. Written comments will be accepted through NOON tomorrow.

Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to open.records@state.tn.us

I will attend the hearing and do everything I can to have open records without huge fees. But I expect that records custodians and their bosses across the state will storm the hearing. After all, it's part of their regular workday, whereas citizens would have to take a day off work to attend.

We need folks who believe that the taxpayers own public records and should be able to examine them to send comments to Nashville, but time is short.

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