Oklahoma examines extending open records act to the legislature

The Oklahoma state legislature is looking at a measure that would apply the Open Records Act to the statehouse. Oklahoma is one of only five states left that do not subject their state legislature to open records laws.

Under the terms of the proposed bill, members of the public would be allowed to request records of most statehouse meetings. A few types of records would be exempted including personnel records or caucus meetings. If a request is denied, a citizen can request an appeal to the legislative oversight committee which would then vote publicly on the issue.

The proposed bill is separate from the Open Records Act should any future legislatures decide to make changes to the bill they can do so without effecting the existing Open Records statute.

So far the measure has passed a committee vote and is expected to go to a floor vote next week. However, despite passing a committee vote, the measure is expected to face opposition from lawmakers in both parties that feel that this level of transparency may limit the legislative process.

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