Bill Would Expand Open Records Law in Oklahoma

New legislation would subject the legislature to greater transparency.
by | January 19, 2012
 

New Oklahoma legislation would expand the state's transparency laws to cover the legislature, the Tulsa World reports.

Two bills introduced by Oklahoma state Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would eliminate the state legislature's exemptions from the Open Meetings and Open Records acts.

Holt tells the newspaper he is optimistic that state lawmakers will be receptive to the proposal and it will pass the House this session.

The legislation still includes some exemptions. Caucus meetings wouldn't be subject to the transparency laws, nor would communication with constituents. The names of public employees acting as whistle-blowers could be redacted, as would the identities of any individuals who aren't lobbyists, public officers or employees working in their official capacity.

Holt is a former chief of staff to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. He cited his own experience working in city government, which is subject to the transparency laws, the Shawnee News-Star reports.

The legislation would take effect beginning with the 2013 session, according to the News-Star.

Press advocates say the legislature needs more transparency, the Tulsa World reports, but they caution against weakening existing transparency laws in the rush to include the Legislature.

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