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Public Records Reform

Pete Springer/OPB

Oregon’s public records law passed in 1973. Now, Senate Bill 41 aims to give it a face lift. Introduced by Attorney General John Kroger, the bill would clarify language and instate deadlines on government agencies when they are asked to produce public documents to businesses, citizens and journalists. It would also put a cap on what agencies can charge for producing these documents. Essentially, the bill aims to make access to public documents faster, cheaper and with less exemptions.

The issue was brought to light recently during a tussle between Grocery Outlet and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, where e-mails between a beer and wine distributor lobbyist and the OLCC director became public, indicating their plans to block a bill that would allow the grocery chain to cut out the middleman distributors.

Though no side takes a stand against government transparency, some groups claim the law could place undue financial burden on small local state agencies.

Are you a state worker tasked with fulfilling public record’s law requests? Are you a citizen who has made such requests for public documents? What’s your experience?


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