Tennessee Coalition for Open Government produces reports and research on open government in Tennessee, focusing on citizen access to public records and meetings of governing bodies, and access to courtrooms and court documents.
TCOG Legislative Reports
Electronic Meetings Survey (2020): An informal survey by Tennessee Coalition for Open Government on governing body meetings held in April and May 2020 documented the state’s widespread experience with electronic meetings under the Open Meetings Act. The electronic meetings were temporarily allowed by Gov. Bill Lee in an executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read results of the survey.
Labor Fees Legislative History, White Paper (2019): Can labor fees be charged when a requestor only want to inspect: Analysis of how production fees were incorporated in the Tennessee Public Records Act. This 2019 paper examines the legal view of fees to access or get copies of public records through Attorney General and Office of Open Records Counsel opinions, a Tennessee Supreme Court decision, and legislation, including major changes to the Tennessee Public Records Act in 2008.
Public Records Policy Audit (2018): Public Records Policy Audit 2018. A public records policy audit of 306 counties, school districts and cities by Tennessee Coalition for Open Government found that many governmental bodies adopted rules that threaten to reduce access to public records. Most policies require a driver’s license as a condition for inspecting or getting copies of records, and many prohibit citizens from taking pictures of records. Relatively few have incorporated fee waivers for copies of records in the public interest. However, many policies included the helpful information such as the name and contact information for making public records request.
Legal Guide (2015) : Keys to Open Government. A guide to Tennessee’s public records and open meetings laws, published in 2015 by Tennessee Coalition for Open Government in 2015 with a grant from the Tennessee Press Association Foundation.
Other Research and Reports
Exceptions to the Tennessee Public Records Act. A database of statutory exemptions to TPRA published by the Office of Open Records Counsel and updated annually after each legislative session.
Records Management for Municipal Government. Published by Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) of the Institute for Public Service at University of Tennessee. This covers reasons for records management, types of records, retention schedules and legal issues. Available in PDF.
County Records Retention Schedule. Published by the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) of the Institute for Public Service at University of Tennessee. This covers records management for a variety of county offices, including courts, elections commissions, county governments, sheriffs and deed registrars.
Issues Surrounding Fees for the Inspection of Public Records. A report to the General Assembly by the Tennessee Office of Open Records Counsel, Jan. 15, 2016.