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Entries in John Kroger (2)


What's a Public Record and What's Not

Oregon has a well-earned reputation for keeping many records public. But, even as a second- or third-tier issue in this legislative session, public records issues are causing some controversy.

Here are some examples:


  • Senate Bill 41:  Attorney General John Kroger has used this bill to recommend a wholesale change in Oregon's public records laws, which are spread throughout statute books. He wants to centralize records laws under the overall public records law, ORS 192.500 and, in the process, get rid of about 100 current exemptions. He also wants to limit what state and local governments can charge for researching record and making copies of them. Therein lies the controversy.
  • Senate Bill 346:  Senate Judiciary Committee members, over objections from the broadcast and newspaper industries, are toying with barring media access to tapes of the 911 Emergency Call System. The chief advocate for the bill, City of Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz, contends that voices on 911 tapes belong to the caller and should not be subject to media review. Broadcast and newspaper managers, on the other hand, are opposing government intervention in the news business and insist they are able to make decisions on when to air 911 tapes, making the balancing decisions required between the public's right to know and personal privacy.
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The Yin and Yang of the Public Records Debate

At different ends of Capitol hallways last week, a traditional debate was playing out on the issue of public records, pro and con.

On one side stood Oregon Attorney General John Kroger, who has made much of his attempt to bring order out of chaos on Oregon's public records laws, which are spread throughout Oregon statutes. In the process, his efforts would get rid of about 100 exemptions that make records private (Senate Bill 41).

On the other side, gun rights advocates won passage in the House of House Bill 2787 to bar public access to records of concealed handgun license holders.

Bills also are pending to make records held by state agency ombudspersons confidential (House Bill 2043) and bar media access to 911 tapes (Senate Bill 346).

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