Tennessee, Rhode Island improve open records laws

Scott Albright | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | June 23, 2008

Open records laws in both Tennessee and Rhode Island have been significantly bolstered in the past week.

Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed into law Thursday a statute that requires state records custodians to respond to records requests within seven days -- the first time Tennessee law has mandated such deadlines.

The new law also outlines the duties of the new state open records ombudsman, who must set a reasonable fee schedule for extensive records requests, among other things.

In Rhode Island, the state legislature passed open records law reforms Saturday that lessen the number of days -- from 10 to seven -- public agencies have to respond to public requests for records. The bill also better details the types of arrest record information police departments must release and when that information must be released.

If signed into law by Gov. Don Carcieri, that bill would take effect on Sept. 1.