A new law in Tennessee has been proposed - a law aimed at the prevention of harassment against government officials. But, what is harassment? In this case, it deals with requesting public records that are held within the walls of government offices. With more, here is MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss…
A harassment bill that was proposed in Tennessee government failed last year in 2020. That bill dealt with allowing a government entity to petition a court for an injunction against someone who was using the public records process to harass government employees. That bill came about from a Senator in Gallatin, Tennessee who said that a man in Sumner County continued to seek government records for what some say, no reason other than to waist time in making request after request.
The new bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Ferrell Haile of Gallatin, provides a mechanism by which a public records custodian may enter into mediation with a records requestor for the purpose of stopping requests that constitute harassment. The proposed bill also states that if mediation fails, the government body over the records can seek an injunction against the records requestor.
Senate Bill 0135 and House Bill 0197