Proposed transparency legislation, 2009 AL-KY
House Bill 154 would prohibit the transferring of funds from one political action committee to another. It was passed in the House on February 12, 2009 and sent to the Senate as Senate Bill 207 where it has been assigned to the Constitutions and Election Committee. The Alabama legislature has passed bills banning the transfer of these funds among political action committees each year beginning in 2000, but the bills have never become law. The state legislature has received criticism for failing to pass this legislation with a local newspaper asking, "Is transparency not that important to members of the Alabama Senate?"
House Bill 295 would require the public disclosure of the names of public officials, spouses of public officials or candidates who have a contract with or are employed by the state, county, or a municipality. It was assigned to the Government Operations Committee on February 26, 2009. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 208.
Senate Bill 207 is the companion bill to House Bill 154.
Senate Bill 353 would make any meeting in which a state party participates in the meeting subject to the state's Open Meetings Act. It is currently being held in the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Senate.
Senate Bill 399 seeks to make background checks performed on employees of secondary education institutions confidential and not subject to public records laws. It has been assigned to the Education Committee in the Senate.
We do not currently have any legislation from this Alaska in 2009. To add some, please see WikiProject Proposed state sunshine legislation.
- "Authored by Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, Senate Bill 1305 would require public bodies that keep public records electronically to provide them upon request on CD-ROM or in another format."
- The Board of Supervisors in Maricopa County in January 2009 passed a resolution that says that when county employees and officials want public documents that are in the custody of the county, the employees/officials are required to go through an internal process rather than using the state's sunshine law to ask for records. This action was taken in response to multiple requests in the last few months from the Maricopa County sheriff and attorney offices for documents relating to:
- A planned criminal court-tower project.
- Communication between county officials and public-relations and consulting firms.
- The Board of Supervisor's decision to hire former County Attorney Rick Romley as a consultant.
Open records advocates in the state have protested the new county-wide law.
House Bill 1049 is one of several bills proposed by Rep. Dan Greenberg that are designed to strengthen the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. It provides for review of a FOIA denial by the Attorney Generals' Office. It was referred to the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee in the House in January of 2009 where it remains as of April 2009.
- House Bill 1050 requires new laws that create exemptions to FOIA must identify with specificity which records or meetings the law exempts. Rep. Greenberg said, “This is kind of a blinking red light, so that from now on when somebody tries to narrow the FOI, at least we’ll know”. After failing to pass the House initially, Rep. Greenberg credits the further explanation he gave House members on the bill's passage on January 27, 2009.
The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed HB 1050, and proceeded to the Senate for a vote. HB 1050 passed the Senate 33-2, and is now waiting for approval by Gov. Mike Beebe, whose office has stated that he plans to sign it into law.
- House Bill 1051, would allow access to criminal records for certain individuals. It was defeated 56-33, and a request by the sponsor to return the bill to committee was refused.
- House Bill 1052, would prohibit retaliation against government employees that file FOIA requests. It was passed in the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's approval.
- House Bill 1053, known as "The Open Checkbooks in Government Act," would create an online database of state expenditures. It was referred to the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee in the House.
- House Bill 1091 seeks to broaden the reasons for which a school board may go into executive session. It was passed in the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's approval.
- House Bill 1326, sponsored by Rep. Lindsley Smith (D-Fayetteville), is a revised version of a bill that failed to pass in 2007. HB 1326 would allow FOIA plaintiffs that file claims with the Arkansas State Claims Commission to recover attorney fees in successful cases. HB1326 has been approved by a House committee and now heads to the House as a whole. It was passed in the House and Senate and is with the Governor for his approval.
- House Bill 1623 seeks to prevent the disclosure of information regarding concealed weapon carry licenses. It passed the House Judiciary Committee and moved to the House, where 54 members signed on as co-sponsors. HB1623 has passed the House 98-1. It passed the Senate 34-0 and returned to the House for concurrence on an amendment. It has since been sent to the Governor for approval.
- House Bill 2091 seeks to establish transparency in the bidding process for publicly funded buildings, infrastructure and facilities. It was introduced in March of 2009.
- Senate Bill 55 seeks to increase transparency related to the salary of administrators in state funded higher education institutions. It was pass in both houses and is awaiting the Governor's approval.
- Senate Bill 251 would prohibit the release of information about motor vehicle accidents for commercial purposes until 90 days after the accident. The Arkansas Sheriffs Association and the Association of Arkansas Counties oppose the measure, saying that it "attacks a part of the foundation" of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
- Senate Bill 943 seeks to improve parents' access to public school data on achievement gaps and on public school plans to close achievement gaps. The bill was passed in the House and Senate and awaits the Governor's signature.
- Senate Bill 106 seeks to add school districts, community college districts, and county boards of education to the definition of a local agency whose officials must receive ethics training on subjects such as open records laws. The bill was introduced on March 4, 2009 and remains in the Senate as of April 2009.
- Senate Bill 218 seeks to make the records of non-profit organizations associated with state agencies and universities subject to the Open Records law. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who stated that "Taxpayers and students deserve to know how their public universities are run." The bill was amended and sent back to the Senate's Judiciary Committee on April 27, 2009.
- Senate Bill 502 would require state agencies and departments to develop a searchable web site relating to the expenditures of state funds. The bill was referred to the Senate's Governmental Organization Committee in March of 2009.
- Senate Bill 719 would require state agencies and departments to develop and maintain a searchable web site that includes information relating to expenditures of state funds including contract grants, purchase orders, subcontracts, tax refunds, rebates and credits. The bill was referred to the Senate's Appropriations Committee in April of 2009.
- Assembly Bill 400 sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon would require public disclosure of state spending by all departments.It was referred to the Committee on Appropriations in April of 2009.
- Assembly Bill 520 would allow superior courts to issue protective orders limiting the number and scope of requests a person can make under the California Public Records Act if the court determines that the requester is seeking the records for an 'improper purpose' (including, but not limited to, harassing employees of state agencies).
The bill has received wide criticism, particularly for failing to define the term 'improper' with any specificity. The California Newspapers Publishers Association wrote a letter to Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter expressing their opposition to the bill and stating their position that "public access decisions must be made based on the law's presumption of access" and that "agencies must never be allowed to determine whether or not to comply with a request based on whether the request is for a use approved by the agency (i.e., a good use)."
- Assembly Bill 1194 would also require state agencies and departments to develop and maintain a searchable web site that includes information relating to expenditures of state funds. The bill was referred to the Business and Professions Committee in April of 2009.
House Bill 1145 requires private investigators to register with the state's attorney general and created a rebuttable presumption that registered private investigators may access public records including driver's license and vehicle records information. However, public agency employees are authorized to deny access to the records "if contrary to the public interest."
House Bill 1251 creates a presumption that criminal records involving investigations are public records, but it also allows for record custodians to deny access to the records if they determine disclosure is "contrary to the public interest."
Senate Bill 49 seeks to make the compensation information of state employees subject to public records requirements under the Colorado Open Records Act so long as the identifying information of employees is kept confidential.
Senate Bill 57, also known as the "Public School Financial Transparency Act," seeks to require Colorado school districts to post their budgets online in searchable formats. Bruce Coughy, deputy director of the Colorado Association of School Executives opposes the bill, saying that it amounts to an unfunded mandate placed on school districts. Primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch), says: "The only opposition is that this would be a burden to the administration, and if the citizens want this information they can get it through an open records request. That type of arrogance from government bureaucrats is exactly why the citizens have lost trust in our government and why this bill is important."
On February 19, SB 57 passed the state senate Senate on its third reading by a vote of 26-8. But on March 19, after a marathon hearing that lasted more than four hours, the bill was killed by the Democrat-controlled House Education Committee on an 8-5 party-line vote. Before killing SB 57, the committee narrowly agreed to adopt an amendment proposed by House sponsor Republican Rep. Amy Stephens to make the bill's provisions less burdensome for school districts.
Ben DeGrow of the Independence Institute supports SB 57 saying "Shining sunlight on the detailed financial picture for all to see would help strengthen the 'public' in public education." About 30 other citizens visited the Capitol on February 2, 2009 to show their support for the bill.
- House Bill 5009 would allow towns more time to post minutes from public agency meetings on their web sites.
- House Bill 5314 would relieve municipalities of costly mandates by authorizing the posting of legal notices on municipal web sites.
- House Bill 5365 would provide meeting minute online posting mandate relief to towns and cities.
- House Bill 5368 would delay the implementation of the mandate on municipalities to post information on web sites.
- House Bill 5371 would provide local taxpayer relief from an unfunded mandate regarding posting of municipal information on web sites.
- House Bill 5379 To provide mandate relief to towns and cities regarding posting meeting minutes online.
- House Bill 5384 would provide mandate relief by delaying implementation of requirements requiring the posting of town minutes and agendas on the Internet.
- House Bill 5953 would enable towns to post required legal notices on their web sites rather than in newspapers.
- House Bill 5954 would establish a government transparency website to enable the public to track state spending and to promote transparency.
- House Bill 5957 would accommodate warrant scanning technology by permitting the copying of public documents using a portable scanner.
- House Bill 5959 would require the Office of Policy and Management and the Office of Fiscal Analysis each post the state budget on their respective web sites.
- House Bill 5960 would require state agencies to post their regulations on their web sites.
- House Bill 5962 would establish a searchable online database of state expenditures.
- Senate Bill 68 would provide relief to smaller municipalities from certain requirements under the Freedom of Information Act.
- Senate Bill 201 seeks to acknowledge that state funded group homes perform an important government function and that the public has a right to know how such homes are being managed and operated under the purview of the Freedom of Information Act.
- Senate Bill 333 would relieve towns of the burden of posting meeting minutes and agendas on their web sites.
- Senate Bill 340 seeks to enable easier public examination of all state contracts.
- Senate Bill 521 would require full disclosure and transparency in state contracting.
- Senate Bill 523 would establish a state website tracking the award of state grants and contracts.
- Senate Bill 772 would revise the requirement that minutes from a public agency's sessions be posted on such agency's web site within seven days of such session.
- Senate Bill 912 would ensure access to certain court records under FOIA, except those records that relate directly to decision-making in individual cases.
House Bill 1: Amending the Delaware Code Related to the Freedom of Information Act
Documents produced by the Delaware legislature are currently exempt under Delaware FOIA law. House Bill 1 sponsored by House Speaker Robert F. Gilligan was introduced in the Delaware state legislature on January 6, 2009. The bill proposes to end the exemption to all committee meetings and records generated by the General Assembly, excepting party caucuses. According to Speaker Gilligan, "Without the openness represented by this bill, it will be all but impossible to persuade the public to buy into legislative actions needed to head off a budget deficit of up to $600 million expected for the year that begins July 1."
An amendment to the bill was sponsored by House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach). The amendment seeks to exempt all e-mail "received and sent by members of the Delaware General Assembly or their staff," in effect closing off access to records that are currently subject to public disclosure.
House Bill 90: Creating a Searchable Budget Database for State Spending
House Bill 90 was introduced in the state legislature on March 24, 2009. The bill, sponsored by Representative Greg Lavelle, states that "taxpayers should be able to easily access the details on how the State is spending their tax dollars and what performance results are achieved for those expenditures." The bill seeks to create a searcheable budget database detailing all state expenditures, their purpose and results. The bill is currently assigned to the House Administration Committee.
Senate Bill 58: Amending the Delaware Code Related to the Freedom of Information Act
Senate Bill 58 was introduced in the state legislature by Senator Karen Peterson on April 7, 2009. The bill seeks to make various amendments to the Delaware Code relating to the Freedom of Information Act which would:
- Create consistency in the determination of whether a record is public by designating the public body that first created the document as responsible for determining if a record is subject to disclosure;
- Clarify that the purpose for which a document is sought is irrelevant under the FOIA;
- Increase the period of time the state's Attorney General has to investigate and determine whether there has been an FOIA violation; and
- Permit the Attorney General to determine FOIA complaints made against state bodies and officers.
The bill was referred to the Senate Executive Committee on April 7, 2009.
- House Bill 135 provides an exemption from public records requirements for personal identifying information of insured dependents such as minor dependent of current or former officers or employees of state agencies when the dependents are insured by a state agency group insurance plan. The bill seeks to make this exemption apply retroactively. The bill was added to the Economic Development & Community Affairs Policy Council agenda on April 10, 2009. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 270.
- House Bill 145 exempts from public records all information and records submitted to the Department of Health under an electronic monitoring system for the dispensing of controlled of substances. The bill provides guidelines for who may access such information and also lays out penalties for violations of the proposed guidelines. The bill was introduced on March 1, 2009 and has been referred to several committees. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 612.
- House Bill 221 provides an exemption from public records requirements for specified identifying information contained in a statewide Internet registry maintained under the Vacant or Abandoned Real Property Registration, Maintenance, and Foreclosure Reporting Act. The bill was introduced on March 3, 2009 and has since been referred to several committees. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 1044.
- House Bill 275 prohibits the commercial use or distribution of law enforcement photographs or recordings of deceased persons or that show a person's extreme, severe, or acute injuries which are confidential & exempt from public records laws. As of April 2009, the bill has been referred to several committees. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 638.
- House Bill 277 is linked to House Bill 275. It seeks to provide an exemption from public records law for investigative or crime scene photographs and records of deceased persons or of any person's extreme, severe or acute injuries. It was introduced in the House on March 3, 2009 and has since been referred to several committees. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 636.
- House Bill 299 was introduced in the House on March 3, 2009. It seeks to require a surety to record in the public records a payment bond for a public works construction project. As of April 2009, it has been referred to several committees. Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 560.
- House Bill 409 aims to provide an exemption from public records requirements for the personal identifying information of employees and families of employees of public educational institutions that participate in group health insurance programs. The bill was referred to the PreK-12 Policy Committee on March 30, 2009. Adria Harper, the director of the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee, called the bill "ridiculous." The bill is related to Senate Bills 1260 and 2432.
- House Bill 575 seeks to allow automatic expunging of criminal records under certain circumstances. It was introduced in the House on March 3, 2009 and has since been referred to several committees.
- House Bill 585 seeks to exempts from public records requirements information reported to the Department of Health under an electronic system for monitoring the dispensing of certain controlled substances. It passed through the Civil Justice & Courts Policy Committee, the Government Affairs Policy Committee and the Criminal & Civil Justice Policy Committee in March of 2009. If passed, it will become effective on July 1, 2009.
- House Bill 699 aims to exempt from public records the contact information of current and former investigators and their families that worked for the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. It was introduced in the House on March 3, 2009 and has seen been referred to several committees.
- Senate Bill 126 seeks to limit the public-records exemption for reports relating to child abandonment, abuse, or neglect. It was introduced in the Senate on March 2, 2009, went through committee reviews and was placed on a special calendar for reading on April 28, 2009.
- Senate Bill 166 creates an exemption from public-records any information that identifies a donor or prospective donor of a donation made for the benefit of a publicly owned building or facility if the donor desires to remain anonymous.<rf name="SB166" /> It was sent to the Rules Committee on April 17, 2009.
- Senate Bill 176 creates an exemption from public records for serologic blood test results from juveniles. It was introduced in the Senate on March 3, 2009 and has since been referred to several committees.
- Senate Bill 250 seeks to narrow the public-records exemption so that it authorizes parents or adult children of decedents to obtain autopsy records. It was introduced in the Senate on March 3, 2009 and has since been referred to Health Regulation, Regulated Industries, Judiciary and Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committees.
- Senate Bill 270 is the Senate version of House Bill 135 discussed in the above section. The bill was referred to the Rules Committee on April 9, 2009.
- Senate Bill 358 provides that proprietary confidential business information held by an agency is confidential and exempt from public records requirements. It is identical to Senate Bill 1836 and has been referred to the Commerce and Governmental Accountability and Oversight Committees in the Senate since being introduced.
- Senate Bill 440 exempts from public-records requirements information and records reported to the Agency for Healthcare Administration under the electronic-monitoring system for the tracking of prescriptions of controlled substances.
- Senate Bill 468, sponsored by Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) proposes to exempt personal identifying information regarding the health and benefit coverage of public school employees from the Sunshine Law. This bill was proposed in reaction to the outcry that arose after Joel Chandler made a public records request for health insurance information from all the Florida school districts.
- Senate Bill 560 is the Senate Version of House Bill 299 discussed in the above section. It was referred to the Community Affairs Committee on April 7, 2009.
- Senate Bill 584 expresses the legislative intent to revise laws relating to an exemption from requirements for public records and meetings.
- Senate Bill 612 is the Senate version of House Bill 145 discussed in the above section. It was referred to several committees on March 30, 2009.
- Senate Bill 636 is the Senate version of House Bill 277 discussed in the above section. It was referred to the Criminal Justice, Governmental Oversight, Accountability and Rules committees on March 3, 2009.
- Senate Bill 638 is the Senate version of House Bill 275 discussed in the above section. It was introduced in the Senate on March 3, 2009 and has been referred to the Criminal Justice Committee, Judiciary Committee and Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee.
As of April 2009, the bill was referred to - prohibiting the commercial use or distribution of law enforcement photographs or video recordings of a deceased person or that show a person's extreme, severe, or acute injuries, which photographs or recordings are confidential and exempt from the public-records laws; providing that such photographs and video recordings remain confidential and exempt from the public-records laws when used or transmitted under certain circumstances (Identical to HB 275).
- Senate Bill 648 provides an exemption from public-records requirements for information concerning certain donors and prospective donors to the direct support organization of the Department of Elderly Affairs.
- Senate Bill 748 amends a specified provision relating to an exemption from public records requirements personal identifying information held by a children's services council or related entity. Its companion bill in the House is House Bill 7021.
- Senate Bill 750 seeks to amend provisions relating to a public records exemption for records obtained by the Department of Revenue under an insurance claim data exchange information.
- Senate Bill 754 clarifies the exemption from public record requirements that is provided for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings, and diagrams held by an agency. It was introduced in the Senate on March 3, 2009 and has been referred to several committees since.<re name="SB754" />
- Senate Bill 1044 is the Senate version of House Bill 221 discussed in the above section. It was introduced on March 3, 2009 and subsequently referred to the Banking and Insurance Committee, Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and the Rules Committee.
- Senate Bill 1046 provides an exemption from public records requirements for certain records of the Florida Hurricane Protection Program of the Florida Catastrophe Fund, from public-meetings requirements for portions of certain meetings of the State Board of Administration, requires that exempt portions of meetings be recorded, transcribed, and maintained for a specified period and provides an exemption from public-records requirements for minutes and transcripts of exempt portions of meetings. It has been referred to the Banking and Insurance and Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committees.
- Senate Bill 7000 clarifyies the exemption from public record requirements that is provided for building plans, blueprints, schematic drawings, and diagrams held by an agency.
- Senate Bill 7002 relates to a public records exemption for insurance claim data exchange information. It saves the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
- Senate Bill 7004 relates to a public-records exemption for personal identifying information held by a children's services council or related entity. It saves the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
- Senate Bill 7008 relates to a public-records exemption for certain information regarding campaign finance reports. It clarifies the provision and saves the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
- Senate Bill 7020 relates to an exemption from public-records requirements for personal information contained in motor vehicle records.
- Senate Bill 7022 relates to a public records exemption for business information provided by a business owner to a governmental condemning authority for the purpose of making an offer of business damages. It saves the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
- Senate Bill 7024 revises an exemption under the public-records law for information that would identify a child participating in a government-sponsored recreation program; defines the terms “government-sponsored recreation program” and “child”; provides that such information is confidential and exempt from the public-records law; and deletes provisions providing for repeal of the exemption.
- Senate Bill 7026 relates to a public-records exemption for identification and location information of certain agency personnel; saving the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act; deletes provisions providing for repeal of the exemption; relocates and revises the public-records exemption provided for identification and location information concerning federal attorneys, judges, and magistrates; defines the term “identification and location information”; eliminates social security numbers from the scope of information covered by the public-records exemption; and requires a federal attorney, judge, or magistrate to attest that efforts have been made to protect the information from disclosure through other means.
- Senate Bill 7030 relates to a public-records exemption for written valuations of surplus state lands and related documents and saves the exemption from repeal under the Open Government Sunset Review Act.
House Bill 171 would exempt individual's names and contact information from public records. Blogger Johnny Edwards is urging for this bill to fail, saying "The key word is "name." All kinds of documents would become useless. Want to find out who's behind the company that just got awarded a lucrative city contract? Sorry. Want to see the work application of a high school teacher accused of having sex with teenagers? Good luck."
Senate Bill 26 would exempt e-mail distribution lists kept by police and fire departments from Open Records requests.
Senate Bill 124 would require that social security numbers be redacted from public documents.
House Bill 496 seeks to require the legislature to follow the sunshine law. Companion bill is SB 681.
House Bill 1088 Expands ability of a board or commission to facilitate public meetings through available interactive conferencing technology. Companion bill is SB 906.
House Bill 1146 would allow board or committee members to hear public testimony and presentations scheduled for a public meeting even if the meeting is canceled due to lack of quorum.
House Bill 1148 Authorizes the electronic filing of meeting notices on the state calendar. Companion bill is SB 966.
House Bill 1530 would allow fees for public records to be waived if the Office of Information Practices judges that it would serve the public interest. Companion bill is SB 1646.
House Bill 1596 would apply the "sunshine law" law to administrative and other nonjudiciary functions of the judiciary. Companion bill is SB677.
Senate Bill 496 Clarifies the functions, duties, and roles of the charter school review panel in the administration and operation of charter schools, and improves fiscal and budgetary accountability. Clarifies that the panel is subject to the requirements of the sunshine law.
Senate Bill 677 would apply the "sunshine law" law to administrative and other nonjudiciary functions of the judiciary. Companion bill is HB1596.
Senate Bill 681 seeks to require the legislature to follow the sunshine law. Companion bill is HB 496.
Senate Bill 906 Expands ability of a board or commission to facilitate public meetings through available interactive conferencing technology. Companion bill is HB 1088.
Senate Bill 966 Authorizes the electronic filing of meeting notices on the state calendar. Companion bill is HB 1148.
Senate Bill 1646 would allow fees for public records to be waived if the Office of Information Practices judges that it would serve the public interest. Companion bill is HB 1530.
Senate Bill 1658 Makes clarifying amendments related to permissible interactions of board members and notice requirements of continued board meetings.
The status of these bills can be followed here: Hawaii State Legislature Bill Status and Documents.
- See also: Idaho Public Records Act
In 2009, Idaho lawmakers changed the Idaho Public Records Act (Idaho Code § 9-340). After the change, the code says that records relating to a retired law enforcement officer's application for a concealed weapons permits are exempt from disclosure. Records relating to concealed weapon permits for non-retired police officers were already exempt. The change means that records of retired police officers are now on a par with the records of any other applicant in the state.
House Bill 1345 would amend the Illinois Freedom of Information Act to include settlement financial information that a public body might enter into. HB1345 was referred to the Rules Committee on 2/18/09.
House Bill 1370 seeks to overhaul the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. The bill:
- Makes it clear that access to public records improves government transparency.
- Protects employees from retaliation from their superiors for releasing public information.
- Permits attorney fees to be paid when access issues go to court.
- Creates a fine from $100 to $1,000 for government agencies found to have "willfully and intentionally" failed to comply with the law.
- Shortens the required response time from seven days to five.
- Makes the first 25 pages of copies free, and sets a fee of $0.15 per page for any copies after that.
- Specifies that records should be provided electronically if possible.
HB1370 is sponsored by Michael J. Madigan, Barbara Flynn Currie, Jim Watson, Paul D. Froehlich. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is pushing for its passage.
- Senate Bill 232: Public Access Issues
has been passed by the Indiana Senate Committee on Local Government and the full Senate and was referred to the House on February 24, 2009 . The bill provides for civil penalties of up to $500 against government agencies -- or their individual employees -- tha violate Indiana's Public Records Act or Open Door Law. This bill would allow public agencies or workers who are deemed to have violated the Public Records Act or the Open Door Law to be fined by a judge. Officers or employees of the agencies that are found to be in violation of one of these acts and are thereby assessed fines, which they must pay out of pocket. Any fines assessed against government agencies, however, are paid by the agencies' budget.
The bill also proposes to allow employees and agencies to provide notice of meetings to individuals that request such notice annually. That notice may be provided via email or on the state agency's website forty-eight hours prior to the meeting. This advance notice is currently available to news organizations, and the bill proposes extending the privilege to all citizens.
The bill also allows government agencies to keep information regarding minors under the age of 19 confidential. Currently, individuals that are denied access to public records can take legal action against the employee or agency that refused to disclose the records. The bill proposes the creation of an education fund to provide training for the public and for public officials as to their responsibilities under public access law. Finally, the bill proposes that where a formal complaint is filed regarding the unavailability of a document or redactions within a document, a "public access counselor" is to review the records to determine whether the elimination of information violates public access laws.
The Committee and Senate have both passed the bill; it now moves to the House for a final vote.
Reaction to the bill:
The bill has received a negative response from various groups representing elected officials at the local level, including the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the Association of Indiana Counties. They argue that the proposed meeting notifications are too time consuming for local governing agencies to comply with, and that the bill may subject government employees to liability and fines for denying open record requests at the direction of their superiors.
The bill has received support from representatives of the Hoosier State Press Association, citizen activists and journalists. In support of the bill, they argue that until now, there have not been any enforcement measures to deal with a government agency that refuses to comply with the law. The Indiana Coalition for Open Government referring to the Public Records Act stated, "An Indiana Code provision that has no enforcement capability is like a toothless dog that barks loud but has no bite," said Fargo, Indiana University journalism professor who serves on the .
Tony Fargo, associate professor of the Indiana University School of Journalism, testified in favor of the bill before the Senate's Local Government Committee. The Indiana Tribune-Star, Palladium-Item, and IndyStar.com have all endorsed the bill.
- Senate Bill 32: Notice of Meetings having to do with notice of meetings is related to Senate Bill 232. The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Public Policy & Interstate Cooperation. The bill requires government agencies to provide notice of meetings to anyone who requests such notice annually. According to the proposed bill, notice may be given by mail five days in advance for any non-emergency meetings for a $10 fee annually.
- Senate Bill 1230: Publication of Notices having to do with notice of meetings was passed by the Senate Committee on Local Government. The bill includes proposals to require newspapers that publish notice of meetings to include the notice on their website and a proposal to eliminate the requirement for agencies to publish the ordinance setting the salaries of elected city officers.
- Senate Bill 1280: State Budget and Spending Information on Internet was passed by the Committee on Ways and Means and the full House and has since been referred to the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy. If passed, the bill requires state agencies to report budget information to the state auditor's office so that it can begin to make available online all state expenditures and account balances no later than July 1, 2009.
- State Sen. Kim Reynolds, R-Osceola proposed a new online state and local budget database. The database would provide free access to the public of all state and local budgets. It would cost an estimated $40,00 to $50,000 to create.
- House File 74 An Act relating to the establishment of a searchable budget database website for the public to access the details of the expenditure of state tax revenues and a searchable tax rate database for the public to access the details of each tax rate for all taxing districts in the state.
- Senate Study Bill 1231 "Members of the Senate State Government Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to approve a measure containing provisions enhancing Iowa’s “sunshine” laws pertaining to public disclosure of out-of-court settlements and charitable donations to public foundations."
- Senate File 161 would create an Iowa public information board which would hear citizen complaints regarding government compliance with the open records law, and be empowered to enforce compliance.
In January 2009, the Kansas Senate gave first-round approval to SB 34 on a voice vote. SB 34 renews 30 exceptions to the Kansas Open Records Act. Don Moler, executive director of the League of Kansas Municipalities spoke in favor of the bill, saying, ""Every one of the exemptions that are in there are in there for a reason."
Senator John Schickel has proposed Senate Bill 30 which would exempt the recordings of calls to 911 from public access. The bill allows for transcripts of the calls to be made public, but not the actual audio. Opponents of the bill are calling it "a waste of time, your tax dollars and is a dangerous move toward limiting free speech and open records/sunshine laws" and "a poorly thought out solution to a mostly non-existent problem."
SB 30 has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and now heads to the floor for a vote.
Senate Bill 188 would create a General Assembly Accountability and Review Division to conduct investigations, audits and reviews and otherwise monitor the activities of public agencies. The agency would be exempt from KORA. The Kentucky Press Association is opposing the exemptions provisions in the bill.
- Proposed reforms in state sunshine laws, 2009 LA-ND
- Proposed reforms in state sunshine laws, 2009 OH-WY
- Text & Status of HB154
- The Anniston Star, Slow death of PAC-to-PAC transfers, April 20, 2009
- Opelika-Auburb News, Senate needs to get on ball and ban PAC to PACs, April 21, 2009
- Text & Status of HB295
- Text & Status of SB208
- Text & Status of HB876
- Text & Status of SB207
- Text & Status of SB353
- Text & Status of SB399
- Bill merges records, technology, Arizona Republic, April 21, 2009
- Arizona Republic, "Supervisors to change records request policy," January 22, 2009
- Text & Status of HB1049
- Text & Status of HB1050
- Lawmakers get back to work, Arkansas News, January 21, 2009
- House approves bill to protect Freedom of Information Act, Arkansas News, January 27, 2009
- Senate panel advances bill on Ark. FOI law, Associated Press, January 29, 2009
- Ark. Senate approves FOI measure, Associated Press, February 16, 2009
- Text & Status of HB1051
- Keep the Sunshine Out?, The Arkansas Project, February 13, 2009
- Text & Status of HB1052
- Text& Status of HB1053
- Text & Status of HB1091
- Text & Statusof HB 1326
- Status of HB 1326
- Ark. lawmaker tries anew with FOI lawyer fees bill, Associated Press, February 2, 2009
- Panel endorses bill granting attorney’s fees for FOIA winner, Arkansas News Bureau, February 24, 2009
- Text & Status of HB1623
- Panel advances bill to make concealed handgun permit information secret, Arkansas News, March 5, 2009
- House passes trauma system bill, Arkansas News, March 6, 2009
- Senate approves concealed carry bill, Arkansas News, April 6, 2009]
- Text & Status of HB2091
- Text & Status of SB 55
- Text & Status of SB251
- Proposal casts shadow across "Sunshine Law", Baxter Bulletin, February 24, 2009
- Text & Status of SB 943
- Text & Status of SB218 (enter the bill number and search)
- Status of SB106
- Fresno State case leads to push to add open records, Fresno Bee, March 3, 2009
- Status of SB 218
- Status of SB 502
- Status of Senate Bill 719
- Status of AB 400
- Text of AB 520
- SFBG Politics Blog, Blocking California's sunshine: Proposed legislation would limit access to public information, April 27, 2009
- California Progress Report. Legislation Would Allow Courts to Gag Public Records Requestors, April 21, 2009
- Status of 1194
- Text & Status of HB 1145
- Text & Status of HB 1251
- Text & Status of SB 49
- Text & Status of SB 57
- Senate committee contemplates online school budgets, Face the State, January 29, 2009
- Senate Bill 57 dies on party-line committee vote
- Schools need open books, Denver Daily News, January 27, 2009
- Activists Want School Spending Details Online, Associated Press, February 3, 2009
- Text & Status of HB5009
- Text & Status of HB5314
- Text & Status of HB5365
- Text & Status of HB5368
- Text & Status of HB5371
- Text & Status of HB5379
- Text & Status of HB5384
- Text & Status of HB5953
- Text & Status of HB5954
- Text & Status of HB5957
- Text & Status of HB5959
- Text & Status of HB5960
- Text & Status of HB5962
- Text & Status of SB68
- Text & Status of SB201
- Text & Status of SB333
- Text & Status of SB340
- Text & Status of SB521
- Text & Status of SB523
- Text & Status of SB772
- Text & Status of SB912
- Text of HB 1
- State of Delaware, House Bill 1 - Bill History
- Bill to open up Assembly advances, News Journal, January 22, 2009
- Legislators may shield their e-mail, Delaware Online, February 6, 2009
- Text of HB 90
- State of Delaware, House Bill 90 - Bill History
- Text of SB 58
- State of Delaware, Senate Bill 58 - Bill History
- Text & Status of HB 135
- Text & Status of SB 270
- Text & Status of HB 145
- Text & Status of SB 612
- Text & Status of HB 221
- Text & Status of SB 1044
- Text & Status of HB 275
- Text & Status of SB 638
- Text & Status of HB 277
- Text & Status of SB 636
- Text & Status of HB 299
- Text & Status of SB 560
- Text & Status of HB 409
- Lawmakers Move to Carve Out Public Records Exemption for Teachers, News Service of Florida, March 10, 2009
- Text & Status of HB 575
- Text & Status of HB 585
- Text & Status of HB 699
- Text & Status of HB 7021
- [Text & Status of SB 748
- Text & Status of SB 126
- Text & Status of SB 166
- Text & Status of SB 176
- Text & Status of SB 250
- Text & Status of SB 358
- Text & Status of SB 440
- Text & Status of SB 468
- Lawmakers May Stall Lakeland Man's Quest For School Records, The Ledger, January 31, 2009
- Text & Status of SB 584
- Text & Status of SB 648
- Text & Status of SB 750
- Text & Status of SB 754
- Text & Status of SB 1046
- Text & Status of SB 7000
- Text & Status of SB 7002
- Text & Status of SB 7004
- Text & Status of SB 7008
- Text of SB 7020
- Text & Status of SB 7022
- Text & Status of SB 7024
- Text & Status of SB 7026
- Text & Status of SB 7030
- Text and Status of HB171
- The City Core, February 8, 2009
- Bill to keep police-citizen e-mail lists private, Marietta Daily Journal, April 7, 2009
- Text of SB124
- Text of HB 496
- Text of HB 1088
- Text of HB 1146
- Text of HB 1148
- Text of HB 1530
- Text of HB 1596
- Text of SB 496
- Text of SB 677
- Text of SB 681
- Text of SB 906
- Text of SB 966
- Text of SB 1646
- Text of SB 1658
- Idaho Press, "Idaho open meeting and public records laws updated"
- Text of HB1345
- Text & Status of HB1370
- Attorney general aiming for 'culture of openness', Galesburg.com, March 5, 2009
- Text of Bill 232
- http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2009&request=getBill&docno=232 Text of Bill 232']
- Bill could mean fines for open records violators, Associated Press, January 21, 2009
- Open records refused?, Courier & Press, January 21, 2009
- Fargo testifies at Indiana Senate to support open meeting bill, Indiana University School of Journalism, January 23, 2009
- TRIBUNE-STAR EDITORIAL: Put some teeth into Indiana access laws, Tribune-Star, January 24, 2009
- Let's put some needed teeth in state public records laws, Palladium-Item, February 12, 2009
- Obey open records law, or else, IndyStar.com, February 11, 2009
- Text of Bill 32
- Text of Bill 32
- Text of Bill 1230
- Text of Bill 1280
- Sioux City Journal, "GOP offers open-government proposals"
- Text and Status of HF74
- Text of SB1231
- Legislature looking at strengthening public records law, The Gazette, February 26, 2009
- Text & Status of SF161
- Enforce Iowans' access to government, Des Moines Register, March 8, 2009
- Text of SB 34
- Supplemental Note to SB 34
- The Hays Daily News, "Kan. Senate advances bill on open records," January 27, 2009
- Text of SB 30
- Lawmaker pushes to keep 911 calls off the airwaves, Kentucky.com, January 25, 2009
- the 'Ville Voice "From Dept of Wasting Your Time & Money," January 26, 2009
- Keep public records open, Kentucky.com, February 18, 2009
- Ky. bill advances to keep 911 calls off airwaves, Lexington Herald-Leader, February 5, 2009
- Text of SB188
- Powerful watchdog agency proposed, Courier-Journal, February 21, 2009
- Press group opposes closing records of legislative probes, Courier-Journal, February 24, 2009