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Bill to provide more scrutiny on public records exemptions

March 21, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Proposals seeking to create more exemptions to Tennessee’s public records law would face more scrutiny under legislation advancing in the statehouse.

House lawmakers unanimously advanced the bill on Thursday.

Republican Rep. Jason Zachary of Knoxville says his measure requires any future public record exemptions must be reviewed by the House Government Operations Committee, which would give a positive, neutral or negative recommendation on the exemption.

In 2017, a state review found that Tennessee had 538 identified exemptions in state code. That number has since jumped to more than 560 since lawmakers added more in 2018.

Gov.-elect Bill Lee has also called for a complete overhaul of the state’s open meeting and public records laws but hasn’t submitted a proposal.

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