Hearings Scheduled on Proposed Changes to Tenn. Records Laws

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The state Office of Open Records Counsel is holding a series of hearings this week about a proposal to make taxpayers pay to inspect public records in Tennessee.

Under current law government officials can charge for photocopies of public records, but viewing them is free. Records custodians often prohibit citizens from taking pictures or scanning records themselves.

A bill seeking to impose new fees for records searches stalled in the Legislature this year, but sponsors asked the open records office to review potential changes before lawmakers return in January.

The meetings are scheduled for Knoxville on Tuesday, Nashville on Wednesday and Jackson on Thursday.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam calls open records laws “part of the cost of being a democracy,” but says he wants to balance against unreasonable requests.

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