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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2013 03:47 PM
From: Representative RoseMarie Swanger
To: All House members
Subject: Denying Right to Know Requests Submitted by Inmates
Currently, certain types of information are exempt from access by the public under the Right to Know Law. For example, Right to Know requests that would result in the physical harm of an individual, the home address of a judge or a member of law enforcement, and certain personal information are currently exempt. While these exemptions provide some security against individuals who might use information gathered from Right to Know requests for illegal purposes, further security measures must be added to the Right to Know Law.

In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation from the 2011-12 session (HB 2395) to permit agencies to deny Right to Know requests made by individuals incarcerated in a Federal, State, or County prison. My legislation will give further discretion to agencies who receive Right to Know requests for information that could be used for nefarious reasons, and would only apply to requests made by current inmates.

This proposed legislation results from a serious situation in my county where an inmate is using the Right to Know law to harass and intimidate a judge and other law enforcement personnel who were involved in his arrest and conviction. He has also used information he garnered to negatively affect the credit rating of the wife of a county detective. Any legitimate information needed by an inmate to pursue an appeal is available through another existing statute.

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Introduced as HB115