Open Records Bill Passes The House

Feb 20, 2019

Credit Public Domain

Wyoming is a step closer to having a new public records law. The House passed Senate File 57 that sets up deadlines for governmental agencies to respond to a public records request and puts in place an ombudsman whose job is to make sure those requests are met.

During final debate the House rejected an amendment that would have set up a mechanism for people to be awarded damages if the agency or ombudsman didn't fulfill a request. House Corporations Chairman Tyler Lindholm said that's an issue they want to work out in the future. He said right now smaller state agencies are worried that fulfilling some requests may take time and that few agencies can operate like the Department of Environmental Quality.

"While the DEQ might be able to absorb something like that and have funds they can utilize, I can assure you that a road district doesn't. These small districts might be able to go after funds at the state level to be able to assist in paying this, but if that's the case, how is this not a lawyers feed bill," said Lindholm.

Lindholm called it a great bill that a lot of people worked on to make Wyoming more transparent.