May 19, 2009

Open records for all

Encouraging news out of Tennessee. The state Attorney General has reversed their policy of denying state record requests to non-residents of the state.

The effort was spurred on by the ACLU after an out-of-state journalist was seeking records regarding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

From their press release:

"ACLU-TN applauds the AG’s office for reconsidering its position and recognizing that Tennessee citizenship should not be a requirement for accessing public documents,” said Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee. “We trust that the decision to make these documents available demonstrates the AG’s commitment to urge the State Legislature to repeal the unconstitutional citizenship requirement. Such a recommendation is vital to ensure that government agencies do not attempt to enforce it."

With the proliferation of internet communications and digitized records, there is little reason for any state to deny out-of-state record requests.

Fortunately, Nevada already has this policy in place.