Attorney General Advisory: Changes to the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act
Read the Attorney General Advisory HERE.
From the Advisory:
This Attorney General Advisory is intended to provide public agencies and the general public with updates regarding the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act following the Regular Session of the 2021 General Assembly. This Advisory addresses two primary matters.
First, the 2021 General Assembly passed House Bill 312 (HB 312), which makes several important changes to the Open Records Act.
Second, the COVID-19 pandemic led to several temporary changes to the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act, such as extending the time for a public agency’s response to an open records request to ten days, permitting a public agency to deny in-person inspection of public records, and permitting more flexibility for video and audio conferencing of public meetings. The temporary changes resulted from the enactment of Senate Bill 150 (SB 150) during the Regular Session of the 2020 General Assembly.
In 2021, the General Assembly enacted House Joint Resolution 77 (HJR 77), which declares that the COVID-19 state of emergency ends on June 28, 2021. HJR 77 is the subject of several pending court actions that have resulted in conflicting decisions. Accordingly, the Attorney General recommends that public agencies comply with the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act without resorting to any temporary changes made permissible under SB 150. Doing so will ensure that public agencies meet the requirements of the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act regardless of how courts ultimately rule on HJR 77. Moreover, complying with the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act as written—and without resort to SB 150— provides Kentuckians with the greatest amount of transparency and government responsiveness while observing best practices in an uncertain legal environment.
On June 29, 2021, the Office of the Attorney General will provide an update to “The Kentucky Open Records & Open Meetings Acts: A guide for the public and public agencies.” A copy of the updated guidance will be made available on the Attorney General’s website. The guidance will address all changes made to the Acts during the 2021 General Assembly.