Tennessee FOIA Laws

Tennessee Open Meetings Law

The Tennessee Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Title 8, chapter 44, part 1 of the Tennessee code defines the law. The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body in order to deliberate or decide on public policy. If violated, any action taken during the meeting is considered void.

Open Meetings Law Tenn. Code Ann. 8-44-101 et seq.

Closed: Labor negotiations; personnel matters; and discussions with an attorney regarding pending litigation.

Tennessee Open Records Act

The Tennessee Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Records in the possession of public agencies in Tennessee are open to perusal by the public unless they are specifically exempted by statute or case law. Records are defined as any documents, no matter the physical form which are “made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.”

Any citizen of Tennessee can request public records and a statement of purpose is not required. The Tennessee Open Records Act does not restrict the use of records and allows seven days to respond to records requests.

Open Records Act Tenn. CodeAnn. 10-7-503 et seq.

Exempt: Medical records of patients in state institutions; some investigative records; public school student records; and some economic development issues, such as land acquisition.

Visit, Tennessee Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.