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Delaware House kills bill to open legislators' work records

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January 29, 2011

Delaware

DOVER, Delaware: The Delaware House of Representatives voted against a bill that would have published the timesheets of legislators working in state government.[1]

A newspaper had made a Freedom of Information Act request for the work records of state Senator Anthony DeLuca, who was senate president pro tem in addition to being an employee of the state Department of Labor. The Attorney General's office ruled that lawmakers' work records were exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Act.[1] DeLuca later released the records anyway.

In response to the AG opinion, Minority Leader Gregory Lavelle introduced the bill to make the timesheets public record. Lavelle had co-sponsored the 2002 legislation that protected agency records from FOIA for security reasons; Lavelle says that law was not intended to guard things like work records of legislators.[1]

While he agreed that the Attorney General's office "misunderstood the intent" of the original FOIA exemptions, Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf voted against the bill because it would "single certain individuals out." Nine Delaware lawmakers currently hold second jobs as public employees, but the bill would have applied only to the three who are merit employees.[1]

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