Law requiring written public records policy

Tennessee lawmakers in 2016 passed a new law requiring all government entities subject to the Tennessee Public Records Act to establish a written public records policy.

They updated the law in 2018, requiring state agencies to promulgate rules in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (UAPA) to meet the requirements of the law. The UAPA procedures allows for public comment, a potential public hearing and more oversight from lawmakers. The law also updated the deadline for state agencies to allow them time to adopt rules, and updated the date for local entities. Below is the updated statute:

T.C.A. § 10-7-503 (g) (1) No later than July 1, 2018, every county and municipal governmental entity subject to this section shall establish a written public records policy properly adopted by the appropriate governing authority. The public records
policy shall not impose requirements on those requesting records that are more burdensome than state law and shall include:

(A) The process for making requests to inspect public records or receive copies of public records and a copy of any required request form;
(B) The process for responding to requests, including redaction practices;
(C) A statement of any fees charged for copies of public records and the procedures for billing and payment; and
(D) The name or title and the contact information of the individual or individuals within such governmental entity designated as the public records request coordinator.

(2) No later than January 1, 2019, state governmental entities shall promulgate rules regarding public records, which must meet the requirements under subdivisions (g)(1)(A)-(D). Such rules shall be promulgated in accordance  with the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5. Any written public records policy of a state governmental entity adopted prior to the effective date of this act, if any, remains in full force and effect until the state governmental entity adopts rules in accordance with this subdivision (g)(2).