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Proposed transparency legislation, 2009 OH-WY

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For a complete list of states proposing reforms to their Sunshine Laws, see proposed reforms in state sunshine laws, 2009 AL-KY and proposed reforms in state sunshine laws, 2009 LA-ND.

Ohio

We do not currently have any legislation from this Ohio in 2009. To add some, please see WikiProject Proposed state sunshine legislation.


Oklahoma

Oklahoma Open Records Act
  • House Representative John Carey (D-Durant) proposed House Bill 1049[1] that "seeks to clarify that police should make incident reports available to the public, even if there are no arrests." Executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association Mark Thomas is in favor of the bill since "the way some local police jurisdictions have interpreted the law, no incident reports are required unless someone is taken into custody." He said in some circumstances, that essentially permits “secret police actions” with no public accounting, and making it clear that incident reports are required could solve the problem.[2] HB1049 has passed the House, and moves to the Senate for further debate.[3]
  • The Oklahoma House of Representatives Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee is considering a bill that would allow the chief medical examiner to withhold the public release of autopsy reports at the request of a district attorney or law enforcement agency if the records may impede an ongoing criminal investigation.[4]

Oregon

See also: Oregon Public Records Law
  • "House Bill 2118 requires health professional regulatory boards to keep confidential personal e-mail addresses of licensed professionals.
  • House Bill 2339 allows a district attorney, a deputy district attorney, the attorney general or an assistant attorney general to request nondisclosure of their home address, home or cellular telephone number or personal electronic mail address.
  • House Bill 2315 allows the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to withhold investigative information until an investigation is completed and the department issues a report, unless public interest requires disclosure.
  • House Bill 2369 exempts from disclosure routine police traffic accident reports.
  • House Bill 2390 exempts geographic fisheries information submitted to a public body from disclosure.
  • House Bill 2495 exempts from disclosure employer account records of the State Accident Insurance Fund Corp.
  • House Bill 2727 unconditionally closes concealed handgun license records.
  • House Bill 2764 closes concealed handgun license records unless the public interest requires disclosure.
  • Senate Bill 13 (like HB2369) exempts from disclosure routine police traffic accident reports.
  • Senate Bill 158 allows the Department of Human Services to keep confidential investigatory records related to complaints against medical professionals after the investigation is completed and a report has been filed.
  • Senate Bill 179 exempts from disclosure estate records obtained by the Department of State Lands during the search for an heir.
  • Senate Bill 618 exempts military discharge records from public records disclosure."[5]

House Bill 2727[6] would prohibit public bodies from releasing information that could be used to identify holders of or applicants for concealed handgun licenses. Bill sponsors describe the measure as an "effort to protect gun owners."[7] The bill has the support of "half of the members of the Legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, signing on as co-sponsors."[8] Newspaper The Oregonian has editorialized opposing the bill, saying that "a list of vague fears and discomfort about public access to these records" is not reason enough to prohibit public access.[9]

The Open Books Oregon Project, also known as House Bill 2500, is bi-partisan legislation introduced on January 29, 2009 in the Oregon state legislature that will:

  • Create a comprehensive, free, searchable website for the state budget.
  • Salary categories for state workers, contracted programs and performance outcomes.

Sponsors include:

  • State Representative Arnie Roblan (D-Coos Bay).
  • State Representative Jefferson Smith (D-Portland).
  • State Representative Kim Thatcher (RKeizer,Newberg, St. Paul).

External links:

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Right to Know Law

South Carolina

See also: South Carolina Freedom of Information Act

House Bill 3537[10] seeks to require South Carolina school districts to pay for random performance audits meant to ensure that district spending is consistent with stated district goals. This bill was inspired by a controversy in Spartenburg District 7 where the board secretly decided to pay a country club $325,000 so that district golf teams could play there.[11]

South Dakota

South Dakota Sunshine Law

House Bill 1135: Authorizing Posting on the Internet

House Bill 1135[12] was introduced on January 29, 2009, and it seeks to authorize the state and any municipality, county or school district to maintain an official website.[12]

Senate Bill 143: Creating a Website for Access to Public Records and Financial Information

Senate Bill 143,[13] proposed by Sen. Jason Gant (R-Sioux Falls) and signed into law by Governor Mike Rounds on March 30, 2009 requires the continued operation of Open South Dakota.[14] SB 143 requires the state to maintain a searcheable website that provides public access to the financial information of the state, municipalities, counties, school districts and other political subdivisions.[13]

Senate Bill 144: Requiring State Contracts to be Posted Online

Senate Bill 144,[15] proposed by Sen. Gant was signed into law by Governor Rounds on March 30, 2009. The bill requires all state contracts involving the expenditure of money to be posted online on the Open South Dakota website.[15]

Senate Bill 147: Public Access to Records

In 2008, the Better Government Association ranked South Dakota as 50th in the nation for transparency.[16] However, things began to around for South Dakota when Governor Rounds signed Senate Bill 147[17] on March 30, 2009.[18] Prior to the passage of SB 147, the prevailing presumption in South Dakota was that all public records were confidential with the burden of proof resting on a requestor to prove that he or should have access to a certain record.[16] Once the bill goes into effect on June 1, 2009, South Dakota will join the majority of states where the presumption is that all records are public unless specifically exempted as confidential.[16]

The bill lists approximately 25 specific types of records as exempt from ready disclosure. These include such things as medical and personnel records, litigation documents, the phone records and memoranda of legislators, and some financial information from private entities seeking to do business with the state.[19]

Reaction to SB 147

SB 147 has garnered praise from the South Dakota Newspaper Association and the Argus Leader Executive Editor Maricarrol Kueter.[20] Kueter said: "The bill is a giant step forward in openness and would bring our state in line with most other states in transparency. Knudson has done an excellent job."[20] The editorial board of the Daily Republic have endorsed SB 147, asking "Who could vote “No” on Senate Bill 147?"[21] Meanwhile, Yvonne Taylor, an official with the South Dakota Municipal League, suggests that the bill goes too far, and that her group will support it only with exceptions built in.[22]

Tennessee

Tennessee Open Records Act

House Bill 53: Exempting Handgun Permit Applications, Class E Felony

House Bill 53[23], introduced by Rep. Eddie Bass (D-Prospect), tried to make information related to handgun permits and applications exempt from public records and make the publication of such information a felony.[23] This bill was withdrawn on February 12, 2009.[23]

House Bill 221: Exempting Handgun Permit Applications, Class A Fine Only Misdemeanor

House Bill 221[24] is Rep. Bass' second attempt at exempting concealed-carry permit holders from the Tennessee Open Records Act. House Bill 221 only differs from the previously withdrawn House Bill 53 in that unauthorized publication of permit information would result in a fine-only misdemeanor and carry a maximun fine of $2,500, rather than being classed as a felony.[25]

House Bill 405: Exempting the General Assembly's Emails

House Bill 405[26] was introduced by Rep. Henry Fincher (D-Cookeville)and seeks to exempt legislator's emails from public scrutiny.[26] The bill was introduced in response to an open records request received from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.[27] Its companion bill in the Senate is Senate Bill 713[28]

Senate Bill 713: Exempting the General Assembly's Emails

Senate Bill 713[28] was introduced by Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) in response to an open records request received from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.[27] It seeks to exempt legislator's emails from public scrutiny.[28] Its companion bill in the House is HB 405.[26]

Texas

Texas Public Information Act

Senate Bill 280[29], proposed by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), seeks to exempt birth dates of public employees from public disclosure. The bill has been referred to State Affairs. The stated reason for seeking the exemption is to prevent identity theft, but journalist Jennifer LaFleur points out birth dates "play a big role in journalists' ability to inform you about government agency hiring practices."[30]

State Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) has proposed Senate Bill 503[31] to close up a loophole in the current law which allows school districts to deny PIA requests for the names of individuals applying for the position of school superintendent. The current language states school districts are only required to reveal the “name or names of the finalists being considered for the position”. Use of the “name or names" clause can result in only the individual being named to the position's name being released, rather than the full list of applicants.[32]

Representative Ismael "Kino " Flores (D-Palmview) has asked the Texas Legislative Council to draft legislation that would add elements to the Texas Public Information Act. His aim is to require Texas Regional Mobility Authorities to make their meeting agendas and back-up documents available online.[33] A Regional Mobility Authority is a public entity created to serve counties on transportation issues. "The work of the RMA leadership is of such vital public interest that, under my measure, all Texans would have the ability to begin viewing on the Internet, three days before a RMA meeting, the full agenda packet from which the RMA board members make their critical decisions," Flores stated in a press release.[34]

Utah

Utah Government Records Access and Management Act

House Bill 122[35][36], proposed by Rep. Douglas Aagard at the request of the Attorney General's Office, seeks to prohibit the weighing of public interest in documents against the government's desire to conceal information. It would also allow records to be withheld if they are associated with pending or "anticipated" litigation. Steve Bloch, an attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, says that "This bill is a step backward and would restrict our current law significantly."[37] HB122 has advanced from committee to the House floor 7-3 along party lines, with Republicans voting for it, and Democrats against.[38] HB122 also passed the House, 43-27. It now moves to the Senate for debate.[39]

The Salt Lake Tribune has editorialized against the bill, calling it "an attempt to subvert that system and the public's interest in holding government accountable."[40]

Senate Bill 18[41] would require all cities, counties, school districts, and special districts (transit districts, water districts, etc.) in Utah to regularly post their expenditures online in a searchable format.

SB18 was voted out of the Utah Senate by a 29-0 margin on February 2, 2009.

Virginia

Virginia Freedom of Information Act

House

House Bill 1799[42] would create a "Fraud & Abuse Whistle Blower Protection Act" and make any complaints made under that act exempt from FOIA requests. Passed the House on January 30, 2009, referred to Senate General Laws.[43]

House Bill 1845[44] proposes a pilot program in Prince William County where the clerk of the Circuit Court is permitted to assess a fee for accessing public land records. Passed the House on February 6, 2009.[43]

House Bill 1879[45] seeks to change the methods of notice regarding public meetings in localities with a population over 100,000. The bill would allow for public notice to be made via websites or public access television rather than in the newspaper. HB 1879 failed to report from subcommittee.[43]

House Bill 1935[46] would exempt from public disclosure company licensing applications and supporting documentation received by the State Corporation Commission. This bill has passed the House, and was referred to Senate Commerce & Labor.[43]

House Bill 2026[47] would establish the "Virginia Employee Voluntary Accounts Program" and provide an exemption to FOIA for discussions of personal information made by the program's Board.[43]

House Bill 2043[48] provides that expense records of the Virginia Port Authority are subject to FOIA, with some exceptions. HB2043 failed to report from subcommittee.[43]

House Bill 2144[49] restricts information held by the Department of State Police for purposes of entry into the Virginia Criminal Information Network to law enforcement personnel.[43] Would exempt the state datebase of concealed weapon carry licenses from public disclosure. This bill has passed both House and Senate, and now waits for the Governor's signature.[50]

House Bill 2181[51] seeks to exempt from public disclosure the internal systems used by the Commonwealth's financial systems. Passed House on January 30, 2009 and referred to Senate General Laws.[43]

House Bill 2266[52] would expand an existing FOIA exemption for zoning complainants personal information to include complaints relating to the Uniform Statewide Building Code or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. HB 2266 passed the House on January 30, 2009 and was referred to Senate General Laws.[43]

House Bill 2269[53] would require that all expenditure reports that school boards give to their governing bodies also available to the public. Passed the House, referred to Senate Education & Health.[43]

House Bill 2285[54] creates a pilot program (Virginia Enterprise Applications Program or VEAP) that would build a searchable online database of state incomes and expenditures. Engrossed by House February 9, 2009.

House Bill 2421[55] seeks to exempt the personal correspondence of public employees from FOIA. Bill was referred to FOIA Council February 3, 2009.[43]

House Bill 2427[56] would exempt the first five digits of a social security number on an otherwise public document from disclosure, and it passed the House on February 6, 2009.[43]

House Bill 2471[57] provides that the disclosure of the names of individual teachers is not required under FOIA in response to a request for the official salary or rate of pay of employees of a local school board. It was recommended to send the bill to the FOIA Council.[43]

House Bill 2549[58] excludes certain financial records of the Virginia College Savings Plan from the Freedom of Information Act. Passed the House on February 6, 2009.[43]

House Bill 2639[59] exempts certain records of the Department of Veterans Services and the Veterans Services Foundation from the mandatory disclosure provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Passed the House on February 6, 2009.[43]

Senate

Senate Bill 880[60] Affirmatively states that Department of Game and Inland Fisheries records are subject to FOIA except for personal info on hunting, boating, fishing, etc. licenses.[43]

Senate Bill 934[61] Provides that no legislative action on the budget can be taken until details have been posted on the General Assembly's website for at least 72 hours. The bill was left in Finance.[43]

Senate Bill 935 (House Bill 1845)[62] proposes a pilot program in Prince William County where the clerk of the Circuit Court is permitted to assess a fee for accessing public land records. Passed Senate February 6, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 936 (House Bill 2285)[63] creates a pilot program (Virginia Enterprise Applications Program or VEAP) that would build a searchable online database of state incomes and expenditures. Reported from Finance, February 5, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1014 (House Bill 2266)[64] would expand an existing FOIA exemption for zoning complainants personal information to include complaints relating to the Uniform Statewide Building Code or the Statewide Fire Prevention Code. Rolled into SB1478 (see below), February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1285[65] would require local governing bodies and local school divisions to publish the estimated required local match in the publication of the annual school budget. Reported from Local Government, February 3, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1305[66] would exempt from the Government Data Collection and Dissemination Practices Act public assistance fraud investigations conducted by the Department of Social Services and local social service departments. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1316[67] Strikes the requirement to publish an index of computer databases and amends the requirement to publish a statement of rights and responsibilities to ensure that the public can find out generally what types of public records a public body has and what exemptions may apply to those records. This bill is a recommendation of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1317[68] requires that any electronic communication meetings (teleconference) shall be held in compliance with the provisions the Freedom of Information Act, except that a quorum of the Board is not required to be physically assembled at one primary or central meeting location. This bill is a recommendation of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1319'[69] clarifies that minutes of public meetings must be in writing. This bill is a recommendation of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1332[70] Provides that a private entity that operates, manages, or supervises any portion of the state highway system shall be considered a public body for purposes of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Senate Bill 1344[71] Amends an existing records exemption for economic development records to include records related to the retention of existing business, and to allow the exemption to be used by all public bodies subject to FOIA. The bill makes corresponding amendments to the existing meetings exemption that allows discussion of such records in closed meetings. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Senate Bill 1478[72] Provides a record exemption under the Freedom of Information Act for the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of complainants relating to Uniform Statewide Building Code or Statewide Fire Prevention Code enforcement made to the local governing body. Reported from General Laws, February 4, 2009.[43]

Washington

Washington Public Records Act

A raft of new legislation to change the state's law has been introduced in the 2009 legislative session.[73]

Senate:

  • SB 5119 - Eliminate the Washington Sunshine Committee.[74]
  • SB 5130 - Prisoner access to public records.[75] Sen. Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood) is the sponsor and says he has concerns that the current law (which allows prisoners to file FOIA requests) may be too liberal.[76]
  • SB 5249 - Changing public records request provisions.[77]
  • SB 5250 - Increases the maximum per page copying charge under the public records act.[78]
  • SB 5251 - Defines per page cost for the purpose of copying costs under the public records act.[79]

The Seattle Times editorialized against the three bills proposed by Sen. Darlene Fairley (D-Shoreline): SB5249, SB5250 and SB5251, calling their common theme of increasing the costs of obtaining open records "a move sure to discourage people with the right to keep tabs on their government."[80]

House:

  • HB 1017 - Creating a committee to study the feasibility of creating a board with public records act and open public meetings act responsibilities.[81]
  • HB 1105 - Regarding public disclosure of records relevant to a controversy to which an agency is a party.[82]
  • HB 1106 - Removing the ability of agencies to enjoin the examination of a specific public record.[83]
  • HB 1107 - Regarding local government self-insurance programs and public records.[84]
  • HB 1181 - Regarding prisoner access to public records.[85]
  • HB 1288 - Exempts the annual parental declaration of intent to home school from the public disclosure act.[86]
  • HB 1316 - Provides a court procedure to enjoin the production of public records the court deems were made for the purpose of harassment.[87]
  • HB 1317 - Governs the disclosure of public records containing information used to locate or identify employees of criminal justice agencies.[88]
  • HB 1471 - Removing the public records exemption for certain records addressing public sector collective bargaining.[89][90]

West Virginia

West Virginia Freedom of Information Act
  • Senate Bill 252[91] seeks to exempt certain disclosures under Freedom of Information Act. Same as HB2418.
  • House Bill 2418[92] - "Relating to exempting certain records of the Division of Corrections and Regional Jail Authority from the Freedom of Information Act that, if released, could aid inmates in committing unlawful acts." Same as SB252

See also

References

  1. HB1049 history, use the "Basic Search Form" to find HB1049 and click on "Introduced" for the bill's text
  2. Oklahoma Press Association official wary of attempts to tweak state's Open Records Act, Enid News, January 25, 2009
  3. Enid News, New bill would ensure the public's right to know, February 27, 2009
  4. KSWO-TV, "Committee postpones open records bill," Feb 4, 2009
  5. Legislature should resist chipping away at access, Oregon Live, March 7, 2009
  6. Text and Status of HB2727
  7. Bill would shield concealed weapons permits, Mail Tribune, February 18, 2009
  8. Ore. lawmakers move to close gun permit records, Associated Press, February 21, 2009
  9. For state legislators, it's all about concealment, The Oregonian, March 12, 2009
  10. Text and Status of HB3537
  11. Audits and information, Go Upstate, February 16, 2009
  12. 12.0 12.1 Text of HB 1135
  13. 13.0 13.1 Text of SB 143
  14. South Dakota Legislature, 2009 Session - Bill History
  15. 15.0 15.1 Text of SB 144
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The Volante, South Dakota Amends State Records Statute, April 1, 2009
  17. Text of SB 147
  18. South Dakota Legislature, 2009 Session - Bill History
  19. Measure calls for open records, Argus Leader, January 30, 2009
  20. 20.0 20.1 Measure calls for open records, Argus Leader, January 30, 2009
  21. No good reason to oppose government transparency, Daily Republic, February 7, 2009
  22. Open records debate on tap, Associated Press, February 16, 2009
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Text & Status of HB53
  24. Text & Status of HB221
  25. Lawmakers get new shot to close gun permit records, Associated Press, February 24, 2009
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Text & Status of HB 405
  27. 27.0 27.1 Johnson: General Assembly seeks to close inboxes to public, Knox News, February 27, 2009
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Text & Status of SB 713
  29. Text and Status of SB280
  30. Plan to hide public employees' birth dates may also hide criminal records, Dallas Morning News, February 11, 2009
  31. Summary of SB503
  32. Bill Would Close Much Abused Loophole When It Comes To Releasing The Names Of Finalists For Superintendent Positions, Capitol Annex, January 22, 2009
  33. Legislation to extend state open records law could be a tough sell, ABC-7, February 10, 2009
  34. Regional mobility authorities post on internet their full agenda packets under planned Flores bill, Press release, February 5, 2009
  35. Text of HB 122
  36. Status of HB 122
  37. Bill would cut off access to some records, Salt Lake Tribune, February 3, 2009
  38. Panel OKs bill weakening public access to government records, Salt Lake Tribune, February 10, 2009
  39. Less-public records? House endorses GRAMA revision, Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 2009
  40. Public records, Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 2009
  41. Text of SB18
  42. Text and status of HB1799
  43. 43.00 43.01 43.02 43.03 43.04 43.05 43.06 43.07 43.08 43.09 43.10 43.11 43.12 43.13 43.14 43.15 43.16 43.17 43.18 43.19 43.20 43.21 43.22 43.23 43.24 43.25 43.26 Virginia Coalition for Open Government 2009 legislative roundup
  44. Text and status of HB1845
  45. Text and status of HB1879
  46. Text and status of HB1935
  47. Text and status of HB2026
  48. Text and status of HB2043
  49. Text and status of HB2144
  50. Gun legislation awaiting Kaine's signature, NV Daily, February 27, 2009
  51. Text and status of HB2181
  52. Text and status of HB2266
  53. Text and status of HB2269
  54. Text and status of HB2285
  55. Text and status of HB2421
  56. Text and status of HB2427
  57. Text and status of HB2471
  58. Text and status of HB2549
  59. Text and status of HB2639
  60. Text and status of SB880
  61. Text and status of SB934
  62. Text and status of SB935
  63. Text and status of SB936
  64. Text and status of SB1014
  65. Text and status of SB1285
  66. Text and status of SB1305
  67. Text and status of SB1316
  68. Text and status of SB1317
  69. Text and status of SB1319
  70. Text and status of SB1332
  71. Text and status of SB1344
  72. Text and status of SB1478
  73. Sunshine returns to D.C., clouds gather in Olympia, News Tribune, January 25, 2009
  74. Eliminating the public exemptions accountability committee
  75. Prisoner access to public records
  76. Bill seeks to halt records 'fishing', Seattle Post Intelligence, February 11, 2009
  77. Public records request provisions
  78. Increases maximum per page copying charge
  79. Defines per page cost for the purpose of copying costs under the public records act
  80. Use technology to provide public records cheaply, Seattle Times, February 9, 2009
  81. Creating a committee to study the feasibility of creating a board with public records act and open public meetings act responsibilities
  82. Regarding public disclosure of records relevant to a controversy to which an agency is a party.
  83. Removing the ability of agencies to enjoin the examination of a specific public record.
  84. Regarding local government self-insurance programs and public records.
  85. Regarding prisoner access to public records.
  86. Text of HB 1288
  87. Text of HB 1316
  88. Text of HB 1317
  89. HB 1471 History
  90. Text of HB 1471
  91. Text & Status of SB252
  92. Text & Status of HB2418