Legislators To Consider Open Records Bill

Wednesday, January 1st 2020, 6:01 pm

A State legislator is calling for more government transparency from everyone but the state legislature.

Senator Ron Sharp (R) Shawnee admits the state does a horrible job of getting public documents to the public.  He says his bill would change that.

Senate Bill 1154 would require public agencies, anything from police departments to prisons to city council members, to fulfill open records requests within 30-days of when those requests are made.

“There is no limitation as to the amount of time in which freedom of information act, open records request can be responded to. This places a 30-day restriction on that that they have to respond.”  Sharp said,  “We’ve had so many complaints from the public that they’ve had requests that were made two, three, four years ago which there has been absolutely no reply.”

And if public officials don’t comply,  “Well the consequences are going to court.  And of course suing and asking for some kind of compensation.” Sharp said.

While state lawmakers will be considering the bill, it won’t apply to them.  The legislature has exempted itself from open records requests.  Well again if we could go through and redact personal information…It would take a tremendous amount of time for the legislature to redact that information.”  Sharp said.

We pointed out, District attorneys, the OSBI, the DOC, and police departments could all make that same argument.  

“We can definitely look upon that,” Sharp said.

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