The general assembly hereby declares it to be the policy of this state that the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.T.C.A. § 8-44-101 (Tennessee Open Meetings Act)
The above opening statement in the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, popularly known as the “Sunshine Law,” underscores that Tennesseans have a legal presumption of open government in their Constitution and separate open meetings and public records laws. Since that presumption has not been universally accepted by everyone in government, the burden of enforcing the letter, intent, and spirit of all three often falls on the shoulders of the public and press.
We hope the information on this page, based on TCOG’s popular Keys to Open Government booklet, will enhance the ability of journalists, citizens, and people in government to understand the rights of access to government information.
This information is not intended to be legal advice. Its purpose is to spread knowledge that can make navigating the law less frustrating for regular citizens.