Alabama senators move bill to streamline public record request process

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 5:51 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Lawmakers want to make it easier to request a public record. State senators passed a bill off the floor to formalize a process Gov. Kay Ivey implemented with an executive order earlier this year.

“There’s open records, open meetings, responsibilities, those kinds of things, which are statutory requirements in Alabama, and the fact that we continue with that motion I think is important to the people because if they want to mknow what’s going on, they can just ask,” said Senate President Greg Reed.

If this bill passes, people would need to fill out and deliver their request by hand or mail. An electronic request could be made if the agency has already implemented that process.

State agencies created an online option last month in accordance with Ivey’s executive order.

Under the bill, offices must acknowledge the records request within 10 business days, grant or deny the request within 20 business days, and give copies of the record within 40 business days.

A request could not be made for judicial records, and sensitive or other nonpublic information is prevented from being released.

“This article is not intended to and does not affect any protections for sensitive or other nonpublic information provided under applicable law. So we just need to make sure that confidential and nonpublic information is not disclosed out there,” said bill sponsor Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Limestone County.

This bill does not establish the cost for the record requests.

The bill will now move to a House committee.

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