Missouri Senate passes farm exemptions to open records laws

Missouri's open records laws would not cover some farming data under a measure that has passed the Missouri Senate.

The legislation, which passed with a bipartisan majority of 25-6, would require state agencies to keep confidential the information farmers submit for voluntary agricultural programs, such as registration data for animal disease tracking programs. Anyone who improperly releases that information could be sued.

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Public record search fee removed from Ind. bill

Lawmakers stripped an education bill of major proposed changes to Indiana's open records laws on Thursday after concerns were raised about how the measure would impact all government agencies and not just schools.

The legislation aims to simplify school management by eliminating duplicate and obsolete reporting requirements that school administrators say are taking resources away from the classroom. But the legislation also included a provision that would allow government agencies to charge a fee for information that takes longer than two hours to gather.

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Future court rulings should require state chambers of commerce and other groups receiving tax dollars to adhere to open-records

Hilton Head Island businessman Skip Hoagland scored big last month when a circuit court judge ruled that the Town of Hilton Head Island could not charge for the time it will take town staff to comply with a subpoena Hoagland has filed, seeking documents. The ruling means Hoagland will only have to pay the cost of copying roughly 4,800 pages of town documents he has requested, including accounting details, spending records and contract bids.

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Future of bill to protect concealed weapon permits uncertain in Senate

From the Mail Tribune:

SALEM — A bill that would close off the records of those who hold concealed handgun licenses in Oregon easily passed the House, but its future in the Senate is, again, questionable.

It's the fourth time the House has passed such a bill, but each time the bill died in the Senate in the 2009 and 2011 sessions.

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Open records require funding

Opinion from The Times Leader:

[…]

The key: Strip away the secrecy of those involved, and their bad behavior ends.

That same notion applies on a much larger and more consequential level in Pennsylvania, where state law allows people – often with the help of the startup state Office of Open Records – to sleuth through public information about state and county governments, local school boards and other taxpayer-funded bodies.

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Go Wichita gets budget approved amid controversy over public accountability

From The Wichita Eagle:

WICHITA — Go Wichita, the convention and visitors’ bureau, will receive its annual budget of more than $2 million in public funds amid concerns that it does not comply with open-government laws.

[…]

What looked like a routine measure on the council agenda erupted into a debate about whether private agencies funded by the public should be exempt from state open records laws.

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