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Politics

State asks for the public's input on public records access

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  --  The State of Tennessee is seeking the public’s input as it considers imposing new charges for access to public records.

Right now, the state can only charge for making copies of public records when requests to review them are made.

John Dunn with the Tennessee Comptroller's Office says the state is looking for a happy medium between transparency and cost.

"I think the central question here will be balancing the public's right to know and to view public records with the cost that governments may have when compiling records, redacting records and reviewing records."

Civil rights groups in Tennessee oppose the charges. Hedy Weinberg speaks for the Tennessee chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"A vibrant democracy requires a transparent government. When you try to create obstacles to accessing records, you are putting a cloak upon all of what government does and trying to ensure that there is some layer of secrecy."

The meetings are scheduled for Knoxville today, Nashville tomorrow and Jackson on Thursday.