Email bill rolls one week in House committee

A bill that would require government entities to accept public records requests they receive by email, if they already use email as an official mode of communication, was rolled a second week in the House State Government Committee.

See Knoxville News Sentinel editorial: Bill would make public records access easier

The email bill, HB58, had already passed out of subcommittee. An amendment was filed by the sponsor, state Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville, to be considered during the full committee meeting.

The amendment added a section aimed at what government entities have sometimes complained are frivolous requests. Here is what was added:

(a) If a person makes two (2) or more consecutive requests to view a
public record, and, for each request, the person fails to view the public record
within fifteen (15) business days of receiving notification that the record is
available to view, the records custodian is not required to comply with any public
records request from the person for a period of six (6) months from the date of
the second request to view the public record unless the failure to view the public
record was for good cause; and
(b) If a person makes a request for copies of a public record and, after
copies have been produced, the person fails to pay to the records custodian the
cost for producing such copies, the records custodian is not required to comply
with any public records request from the person until the person pays the records
custodian for such copies if the records custodian provided the person with an
estimated cost for producing the copies in accordance with subdivision
(a)(7)(C)(ii) prior to producing the copies and the person agreed to pay the
estimated cost for such copies.

Discussion of the proposed legislation continued Tuesday morning during the committee’s bill review pre-meeting, focusing mainly on the requirements surrounding accepting email requests. A new amendment may be filed.

See video from House State Government Committee meeting.

TCOG has tracked this bill, and offered comments on the original language of HB 58. You can read TCOG’s letter here.

On the Senate side, state Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, asked the Senate State & Local Government Committee to hold his bill while the House considers changes.


What do you think?