It was more than 100 years ago that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis made his famous pronouncement on the cleansing virtues of public scrutiny:
“Sunlight," he wrote in 1913, "is said to be the best of disinfectants.”
Tennessee’s Public Records Act certainly let the sunshine in — at first.
The guts of the law say that all government records shall be open for inspection by any citizen. But the act includes the proviso: " … unless otherwise provided by state law.”
When the law was first enacted in 1957, only two statutory exemptions dimmed the bright sunlight.
By 1988, however, the Public Records Act was clouded by 89 exemptions.
FOIA; Freedom of Information; Freedom of Information Laws; Open Records; Open Records Act; Public Records; Public Records Law; Sunshine Act; Sunshine Laws