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This bill establishes Public Records Advocate as independent office within executive department. Authorizes Public Records Advisory Council to appoint advocate and to support or oppose legislation relating to public records law and to request legislation.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
This is critical for the public to get to the truth and that Oregonians have access to transparency and that the records of the State’s business are made available to any who seek them.
The position of Public Records Advocate and the Public Records Advisory Council were created in 2017, included in a trio of companion measures concerned with public records. Each public body in Oregon maintains its own records and handles requests for access. The majority of public records requests are satisfied without controversy, but a certain number involve complexities that are not always capable of simple or rapid resolution. Conflicts can arise between those seeking information, those in possession of information, and those who are the subject of the information. When denying a request for access, the assertion may be challenged and the parties may become involved in an appeal process. The office of Public Records Advocate and the Public Records Advisory Council were created to improve communications and conflict resolution between seekers and holders of public records. Senate Bill 1506 makes a number of adjustments to the office of the Advocate and the organization of the Council: it specifies the Advocate’s appointment and removal by the Council rather than the Governor; changes the Advocate’s employment status from unclassified to exempt; provides for the election of a Chair and Vice Chair by Council membership (rather than designating the Advocate as Chair outright); authorizes the Council to seek, support or oppose legislation; and it makes the Advocate the custodian of Council records.