Tennessee bill would allow public records requests bans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennesseans determined to be using public records requests as a form of harassment could be banned from filing them for one year under a new bill that would allow courts to punish people for making too many inquiries.

The move has alarmed open government advocates worried about the potentially chilling effects the bill might have, while also causing tension among supporters who feel queasy about limiting a person’s right to public records.

Under the proposal introduced this week, a public agency would have to ask a court to ban the person from making records requests. If successful, that person could not make a request for a year unless they prove to a court any future inquiry over that 12-month time doesn’t constitute harassment. Anyone found guilty could only file a public records request during that one year ban with permission from a judge.

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