Subcommittee approves bill to restructure records access
NEVADA–A controversial bill that, if enacted, would substantially amend the state open records law was endorsed by a subcommittee of the Nevada Assembly Committee on Government Affairs in late May.
The bill, introduced in March, explicitly defines what types of government records must be open to the public and what records can remain secret. It has been described as an attempt to address the conflicting privacy interests of the press, law enforcement agencies and public employee groups.
In re-working the various provisions, the subcommittee elected to prohibit public access to public employee disciplinary actions as well as to seal information about sexual harassment investigations, according to Associated Press reports. The Nevada Press Association fought to have harassment investigation records opened once final actions were taken on a case, but opponents argued that public employees would be reluctant to file complaints if the information were to become public.
Law enforcement and victims’ rights organizations pushed to have language that would protect the confidentiality of witnesses and victims included in the bill, according to AP reports. However, this provision failed in the subcommittee.
The bill will be reviewed by the full committee, and the Legislature is expected to vote on it this session.
The Legislature has twice attempted to pass amendments that would update the 86-year-old public records law. Bills introduced in 1993 and 1995 failed. (A.B. 289)