’20-HB2007/SB2073 – Daniel/Pody

Bill Description

Under present law, the following records are treated as confidential and are not open for public inspection:
(A) The audit working papers of the comptroller of the treasury and state, county and local government internal audit staffs. Under present law, "audit working papers" includes, but is not limited to, auditee records, intra-agency and interagency communications, draft reports, schedules, notes, memoranda and all other records relating to an audit or investigation;
(B) All information and records received or generated by the comptroller of the treasury containing allegations of unlawful conduct or fraud, waste or abuse;
(C) All examinations administered by the comptroller of the treasury as part of the assessment certification and education program, including, but not limited to, the total bank of questions from which the tests are developed, the answers, and the answer sheets of individual test takers; and
(D) Survey records, responses, data, identifying information, intra-agency and interagency communications, and other records received to serve as input for any survey created, obtained, or compiled by the comptroller of the treasury; provided, however, these documents do not apply to any survey conducted by the office of open records counsel.
This bill adds that a public record deemed confidential pursuant to the above provisions only remains confidential and not subject to public inspection from the period at which the audit begins until the audit is concluded, or 180 days after the initiation of the audit, whichever is earlier. When a public record becomes accessible to the public after audit completion or 180 days from audit initiation under this bill, the record may be requested in accordance with the public records laws.
Under this bill, both a requesting party and a law enforcement agency will be afforded and charged with all of the rights, duties, and privileges otherwise specified under public records law with respect to a requesting party and records custodian, respectively.
This bill specifies that it will not apply to the audit working papers of the comptroller of the treasury, as described above.
ON JUNE 3, 2020, THE HOUSE ADOPTED AMENDMENT #1 AND PASSED HOUSE BILL 2007, AS AMENDED.
AMENDMENT #1 rewrites the provisions of this bill that are described in the Bill Summary to authorize an entity that is the subject of an audit or investigation by the comptroller of the treasury or state, county, or local government audit staff to release a public record subject to public inspection that is being used during the audit or investigation prior to the conclusion of the audit or investigation when, in the opinion of the auditor or investigator, such disclosure will not prejudice the audit or investigation. If records are subject to such release, this amendment requires the audited or investigated entity to open the records to public inspection no later than 30 days following the conclusion of the audit or investigation, or 180 days after the initiation of the audit or investigation, whichever is earlier. Upon a showing of good cause by the audited or investigated entity, the records may be withheld an additional 30 days after the 180 days after the initiation of the audit or investigation.

TLRC Position

We support transparency at every stage when it does not compromise investigation. We support and scored this bill.

TLRC Observed Process

Passed House nearly unanimously (Clemmons votes no). Senate does not act.

Yet another bill that the house approves and the senate ignores.

Vote Result: Pass House Only

Score: +5

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