public records laws
David Cuillier is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at The University of Arizona. He specializes in public records reporting and co-wrote the book, The Art of Access: Strategies for Acquiring Public Records, the second edition of which is being released this month. The book teaches journalists and involved citizens how to gain access to public records, which he says is an art that requires understanding of the system and human behavior. For this week’s Requester’s Voice, Cuillier spoke to MuckRock about his book and the study he worked on this past year.
There are nearly 600 exemptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act, and the list keeps growing. However, a new state law could slow the adoption of new exemptions because it requires the Tennessee House’s Government Operations Committee to review any legislation that creates an exception to the TPRA, which requires government records to be open to public inspection.
From restrictive laws contributing to prolonged response times, and high fees stopping the release of records, the State of State Public Records Laws is on a bumpy ride. To get a better sense of what’s going on at the state and local level, we’ve been analyzing our MuckRock data and finding the trends in records requesting.
In order to get a better sense of what’s truly going on with public records laws, we decided to take a look at data from over 2,600 agencies in MuckRock’s API. The numbers show the staggering differences in state and local average response times as well as the number of requests filed and completed in those states.
As Sunshine Week draws to a close, state legislatures are set to review a number of records bills across the nation
As we wrap up Sunshine Week 2019, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of transparency bills currently making the rounds throughout state houses and senates.