HB 177 Modifies provisions regarding public access to records

     Handler: Roberts

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -

HB 177 - This act modifies provisions regarding public access to records.

The Office of Child Advocate shall create a safety reporting system in which employees of the Children's Division may report information regarding the safety of those served by the Division and of the Division's employees. The identity of any individual who reports to or participates in the reporting system shall be confidential as described in the act. Any criminal act reported into the reporting system shall be disclosed by the Office to the appropriate law enforcement agency. In child abuse and neglect investigations, this act provides that nothing shall preclude the Office from releasing findings regarding the professional performance of multidisciplinary team members.

Under this act, in a municipal ordinance violation proceeding before a municipal court where the charge carries a possibility of fifteen or more days in jail or confinement, a defendant shall not be charged any fee for obtaining a police report, probable cause statement, or any relevant video.

Finally, a public governmental body is authorized to close records and meetings related to evacuation and lockdown procedures on property owned or leased by the body. Information submitted by software or surveillance companies that secure access to buildings of the body may also be closed.

A public governmental body is authorized to close records that are related to email addresses and telephone numbers submitted to a public governmental body by individuals or entities for the sole purpose of receiving electronic or other communications. The public body may also close records of utility usage and bill records for customers of public utilities unless the customer requests them or authorizes their release.

This provision is identical to provisions of HCS/HB 362 (2021).


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