This bill would repeal existing law providing access to public records and replace it with a new Alabama Public Records Act with provisions establishing the rights of citizens to access public records, enumerating exceptions to disclosure, establishing procedures for making and responding to requests for access, setting the charges associated with responding to requests, establishing a Public Access Counselor within the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts, creating administrative and judicial remedies, establishing criminal penalties for intentional false statements made during a request for records or an appeal under this act, and establishing civil penalties for noncompliance
Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended by Amendment 890, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, prohibits a general law whose purpose or effect would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds from becoming effective with regard to a local governmental entity without enactment by a 2/3 vote unless: it comes within one of a number of specified exceptions; it is approved by the affected entity; or the Legislature appropriates funds, or provides a local source of revenue, to the entity for the purpose
The purpose or effect of this bill would be to require a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of the amendment. However, the bill does not require approval of a local governmental entity or enactment by a 2/3 vote to become effective because it comes within one of the specified exceptions contained in the amendment
Relating to public records; to repeal Sections 36-12-40 and 36-12-41, Code of Alabama 1975; to establish the Alabama Public Records Act; to require governmental bodies of this state to adopt rules allowing each citizen to inspect and take a copy of any public record upon a request made in accordance with this act; to require governmental bodies to designate a custodian of records; to provide for exemptions to disclosure; to establish special access to documents determined to be of historical value by the State Records Commission; to establish procedures to access public records; to establish what charges could be assessed for access to public records; to create the position of Public Access Counselor within the Alabama Department of Examiners of Public Accounts; to grant the Public Access Counselor authority to decide requests from custodians for additional time to comply with records requests; to establish administrative procedures to appeal denials of access to records; to create procedures for judicial enforcement of public record access rights; to establish criminal penalties for intentional false statements made by a requestor during request for records or appeal process; to create civil penalties for failing to comply with the act; to provide an absolute privilege and immunity for the publication of defamatory statements or invasions of privacy contained in records produced pursuant to a request for access; and in connection therewith to have as its purpose or effect the requirement of a new or increased expenditure of local funds within the meaning of Amendment 621 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended by Amendment 890, now appearing as Section 111.05 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended.
|February 2, 2021||S||Read for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary|
|Bill Text||SB165 Alabama 2021 Session - Introduced|