Tuesday, April 03, 2007

For the Open Record

Tim Mahoney's (D-Fayette) open records bill can be found here. And for the record, it covers state-related universities. The definition of agency includes,
State-aided colleges and universities, State-owned colleges and universities, State-related universities and community colleges.
The bill is long. Here is the paragraph which defines a public record. Much of the rest of the bill carves out exception to this rule.
"Public record." All documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, database, data or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics or means of storage or transmission, made or received in connection with or relating to the work of an agency, except those documents exempt or prohibited from disclosure under Federal or State law. The term does not include those items that are clearly personal in

nature and unrelated to the spending of public funds or the duties imposed upon the agency.
That last sentence seems to open up a huge loophole. Could Penn State argue that this or that didn't use any public funds or that something was not part of its duties as a University-oh, let say running a concert hall or a hotel-and therefore not covered by this bill? Any lawyers out there who want to weigh in on this?

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