Narrowing Open Records Exemptions

Problem

Open records laws allow citizens to be privy to what their local, state, and federal governments are doing with taxpayer money. They also provide transparency so that citizens can see whether or not elected officials are performing appropriately. During his tenure as a Magistrate on the Pike County Fiscal Court, Chris’s attempt to obtain records regarding a public water district was denied. Legislation passed in the 2012 General Assembly had left a loophole that allowed private companies operating in governmental capacities and paid with taxpayer dollars to keep their records private.  

Solution

In an effort to increase transparency in state and local government, Rep. Harris sponsored legislation which would narrow the open records exemptions for private firms providing public services. The bill would require entities offering services traditionally performed by government agencies, and receiving at least a quarter of their revenue from taxpayers, to comply with the same open records laws as their government counterparts. 


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