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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Open Records Victory in Kentucky

The Kentucky Open Government Blog reports on the victory of Kentucky New Era reporter Sarah Hogsed who had filed a records request for restaurant inspection reports with the Pennyrile District Health Department.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said the health department subverted the intent of the Open Records Act and took the opportunity to clarify Kentucky law on open records, as reported by the blog:

The opinion said the district's excuse for the delay – absence of staff – was not sufficient. The opinion added “in the interest of absolute clarity,” that those who ask for public records cannot be required to submit their requests on preprinted forms, or sign forms in the presence of an agency employee; that receipt of records no longer requires on-site inspection; that agencies may recover only their actual costs of reproducing public records, not including staff time, if the records are to be used for a noncommercial purpose, including use by a newspaper or periodical. The department had indicated that it considered the paper a commercial interest. "We suppose the notion that the news media act in the public interest had escaped the health department," the opinion said.

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