From the Albuquerque Journal:
New Mexico State University plans to propose extensive changes to restrict the reach of the state’s public records law – amendments that transparency advocates call “troubling” and vow to fight.
A document prepared by NMSU and obtained by the Journal describes a litany of proposed exemptions to the Inspection of Public Records Act, including some that would make secret much of the public sector hiring process and certain law enforcement activities.
“All of the proposed changes are very troubling,” said Albuquerque attorney Greg Williams, president of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.
Universities in New Mexico historically were among the most resistant to public records requests.
In preparing its current proposal, NMSU branches out beyond university records to include new restrictions on what the public can obtain from other public agencies, including police.
The amendments include:
- An exemption to keep secret the identity of applicants to public jobs, including university and other public sector hires;
- An exemption to limit access to records revealing the identity of individuals making civil rights complaints, as well as those accused of civil rights violations but not yet found guilty;
- Various exemptions for law enforcement records “that could reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings” or that “would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial” or that “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;” and
- An exemption for “trade secrets and proprietary information” provided to universities to support research activities.
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Hat Tip: @PIBuzz