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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Caste System for Public Records Requestors

This piece from Jason Mercier at the Washington Policy Center analyzes the fact that now, for the first time ever, there are two classes of public records requestors: the media and everyone else. HB 1317 allows the media (only) to obtain certain police-related records.

This is not an attack on the media; far from it. The media, we know from first-hand knowledge, didn't want to be treated differently than the public when it came to obtaining police records in HB 1317. But the media was given a choice by legislators: only you can get the records or no one can. So the media chose to get the records.

This caste system of public records requestor sets a horrible precedent. We hope this class distinction is eliminated in the next legislative session. We suspect the media will be urging a return to equal access to public records.