Under this new law , cities and counties that negotiate economic development contracts may keep those contracts confidential until the proposed contract is made available to members of the respective governing bodies. The purpose of the sponsors was to allow economic development staff of a municipality or a county to negotiate in confidentiality to prevent other cities and counties from finding out who they were negotiating with, or their proposed terms, and competing with them. Once a member of the governing body is provided a proposed contract or agreement, the documents are open for public inspection.
It also would allow members of a governing body to share any of documents with journalists or citizens once they have a copy themselves. Concern was raised in a House State Government Committee meeting by some lawmakers who asked if the legislation could prevent members of governing body, such as a county commissioner, from getting access to information about proposed economic development agreements.
The staff attorney for the House State Government Committee said it was his opinion that the legislation would not prevent members of a governing body from gaining access to any documents at any time because they, as members of the governing body, would be a party to any proposed contract.
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This bill was brought by state Rep. Sam Whitson, R-Franklin, and state Sen. It has been a perennial request from cities and counties who say that the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has a similar exemption. The original bill was modeled after the state exemption. However, the bill that passed does not contain some provisions of the state exemption. For example, the ECD commissioner has discretion to keep additional information confidential even after a contract is signed, but this provision was stripped from the county-municipality bill. The bill does allow for trade secrets of the company to remain confidential after a contract is signed.
The list included information that is normally not shared, but also swept in residential addresses boldface added :. Residential street addresses are already confidential in some circumstances and for specific safety reasons under existing provisions in the Tennessee Public Records Act, such as for law enforcement personnel, victims of domestic violence and domestic violence shelters.
However, residential addresses have traditionally been freely given by citizens and exist in a wide array of public records, such as property records, that are regularly accessed by the public. Because of the broad nature of the exemption, state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, and state Sen.
Richard Briggs, R-Knoxville who had sponsored the original legislation sponsored another bill to remove addresses from this part of the statute.
This bill succeeded with no opposition and was signed by the governor. Among new laws regarding public records is one makes confidential the identity and identifying information of minor victims of criminal offenses. This includes:. The statute allows a custodial parent or legal guardian to petition the court to waive confidentiality. A new law makes it a crime to release the residential street address of any law enforcement officer in the state. Someone who knowingly releases the confidential information can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Sponsors were Rep.
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Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville.
The information was already confidential under the Tennessee Public Records Act; the change adds criminal penalties. When describing this bill, the sponsors said it would clarify an exemption regarding confidentiality of vendor names that passed last year. Like last year, this was a Haslam administration bill.
Government property was defined as electronic information processing systems, telecommunications systems or other communications systems. Lawmakers expressed concerns over this bill , not from the perspective of what citizens would know, but rather about their own access to such information. He noted an increase in the redactions. The sponsor did not know if it would reduce redactions, and the question went unanswered. In the House, the State Government Committee added an amendment to allow a member of the General Assembly access to the name of the vendor, although it required that the lawmaker keep the identity of the vendor confidential from the public.
The exemption allows local government entities to make the vendors name confidential upon a vote by the governing body. As part of a bill dealing with investigations into health care providers, this legislation also contained a provision adding an exemption to the Tennessee Public Records Act that makes confidential examination questions, answer sheets, scoring keys or other examination data used for the purpose of state licensure, certification or registration of health professionals.
A person who has taken an exam has the right to review their own completed exam. And final exam scores of people licensed, certified or registered as health professions are open. Also, this new law updates a previous provision in f that makes complaints and investigative documents against health care providers confidential until after formal disciplinary charges are filed. The update says that the records are also not subject to a subpoena during this period.
This new statute requires the Commissioner of Revenue to report no later than Jan. The advantage of this bill to the public is that it creates a public record on information that is not now compiled and otherwise inaccessible because of confidentiality of the underlying data. After the Chattanooga bus accident that killed six schoolchildren late last year, the Haslam administration worked on and proposed reform legislation to better track and address safety complaints against bus drivers.
This report provides details on police responses to citizen calls for assistance, reports of accidents or reports of crimes being committed. While police records are subject to state public records laws like the California Public Records Act, many types of police records are specifically exempt from disclosure.
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Some will routinely provide the reports but with sensitive information edited out. Some will provide most reports but withhold those that concern sensitive pending cases. Some will decline to release any police reports. Here are links to some Bay Area police department web sites that have information on obtaining police records:. See, for example, this San Francisco Chronicle story about how police in San Francisco cut back public access to police records, even basic information from arrest and incident report logs. Reporters can ask for a copy of a police report, but if the police decline to provide it they probably are within their rights to do so.
So the same documents that police decline to give to a reporter might be publicly accessible in the court file. See our other tutorial on Criminal Court Records for help on accessing criminal case records filed in courts. Jails keep records of people they have in custody or who have been released on bail. For help on what information is available on jail inmates and how a reporter can interview them, see our other tutorial on Jail and Prison Records.
To obtain an arrest warrant, a police officer usually goes to a prosecutor who then must convince a judge that a crime has occurred and there is probable cause that the accused was responsible for the crime. The judge then can sign an arrest warrant. A police department keeps an arrest log that has the names and addresses of people arrested by police officers, where they were arrested and other details about the circumstances of the arrests and the people arrested.
These logs generally are presumed to be public. In California, these are the details about a person arrested by police that should be made public under the California Public Records Act:. A few police departments put their arrest logs online.
The San Francisco Chronicle also publishes a feed of arrest records for people arrested in Bay Area cities. Some of the arrest records put online by the Chronicle and other local news outlets come from a website called Local Crime News. A police department keeps an incident log of citizen calls for assistance, accident investigations and reports of crimes.
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The logs will include some details on the circumstances of the calls. These are the details about incidents reported to police which are often referred to as public requests for assistance or complaints, and which also include accident reports that should be made public under the California Public Records Act:. To decipher abbreviations used in the incident logs, in the drop-down menu under Resources in the upper right select Glossary. Martinez Police Department Daily Log. Police records usually refer to penal code sections in describing crimes police are investigating.
The Berkeley Police Department has a list of commonly used penal code sections and which crimes they refer to. At the site check the box next to Penal Code. At the search results page, click on the first listing.
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