Sen. David Parks on Friday introduced a bill aimed at increasing government transparency by strengthening the Nevada Public Records Act.
First Amendment lawyers and advocates already praise Nevada for having strong open records laws in spirit, but have criticized the lack of punishment for government entities that fail to follow the law. The proposed bill, SB 287, seeks to end some of the tactics recordkeepers use to delay or stop records from being released. Those tactics include outright ignoring records requests, charging exorbitant fees for producing the records, and forcing lengthy and costly litigation related to their release.
“The goal is to eliminate the need for costly lawsuits and to simply have the government be fully transparent and accountable to the people it serves, which is what state law already requires,” said Maggie McLetchie, a Las Vegas-based lawyer who has worked on several notable public records lawsuits in the state, in a statement.
SB 287 is supported by a variety of advocacy and media organizations. Right to Know Nevada, a coalition supporting the bill, includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, Nevada Policy Research Institute, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The bill could be heard as early as next week.