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New Arizona law makes public records available promptly by mail

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  1. Freedom of Information

    NMU         ARIZONA         Freedom of Information         May 23, 2002    

New Arizona law makes public records available promptly by mail

  • Arizona’s governor allowed an amendment to the public records laws requiring prompt response to information requests to become law without her signature.

A new Arizona law enacted on May 13 makes public records more accessible by mail and in a more timely fashion.

The provisions of SB1415 require that any public record be available by mail upon request if it is not available on the public agency’s Web site. The custodian of the records, however, may request advance payment for copies and postage..

The law requires the custodian to respond promptly to requests, and failure to make a timely response may be equivalent to a denial.

Gov. Jane Hull, usually a proponent of open government, refused to sign the bill because she said the provisions were ambiguous. She explained her concerns in a May 13 letter to the Randall Gnant, president of the Senate.

“Like the sponsors, I support the principle of public records, but this bill is clumsily written and leaves agencies with no guidance as to implementation,” Hull wrote. “It certainly does not serve the public if agencies and news media spend months in court fighting over the definition of an adverb.”

Hull allowed the bill to pass into law without her signature but asked the Legislature to revisit the issue within the next year to clarify and better define the provisions.

MM


© 2002 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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