Wednesday, March 12, 2003

How Odd

While looking for a Commercial Appeal story on their website, for the post coming up next, I ran across this story which didn't appear in the print edition.
Two Knoxville legislators have proposed a 14-day time limit on inspecting public documents under the state's open records law.

Under their bill, when a government entity provides records in response to a request, the person seeking them has 14 days to collect the information or make copies. After that, the person's right to see the records would expire and further access could be denied.

The bill was filed by Rep. Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville) and Sen. Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) at the behest of Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison.

They filed the measure after Hutchison was found in contempt of court and fined $300 for making false statements about public records last year in his long-running battle with a county commissioner.

Hutchison said he supports open records, but the law as it now stands "assumes that you're dealing with people who are reasonable.''
Spoken like a real defender of the public. Serve and protect my ass. Literally, in his case.
Knox County Commissioner Wanda Moody and her attorney, Herbert S. Moncier, said the legislation is an obvious attempt by Hutchison to weaken the state's Public Records Act.

This law, passed in 1957, provides that all state, county and municipal records be open for inspection and that those in charge of the records shall allow such inspections unless otherwise restricted.

The Moody-Hutchison legal battle, which dates back to 1996, involves contentions that the sheriff has used public funds without appropriate approval from the County Commission.

Moncier initially sought records through the legal process known as "discovery" but wound up also filing a request for inspection.

Moody said Hutchison initially responded with just 22 pages of material....

"This is just a bill to make it more difficult to find out what he's doing with public money," Moncier said.
Amen! I sure hope to see this story in dead-tree tomorrow. I can't believe that the CA, which has long used public records laws to make stories and to attack enemies, wouldn't be all over this one.

And, hey! All you East Tennessee bloggers? Tell these children to grow up.

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