weather icon Clear

Sisolak signs public records reform bill into law

CARSON CITY – Gov. Steve Sisolak signed public records access reform into law Thursday with changes designed to make it easier and cheaper for average citizens to view or obtain official documents from governments and public agencies and penalize those agencies when they don’t comply.

Senate Bill 287, a candidate for underdog bill of the session, officially takes effect Oct. 1. Buried in committee in mid-April, it languished there until the Legislature’s final week, when it found its way back onto the active agenda through the efforts of three senators.

The measure was one of eight bills Sisolak signed ahead of Friday’s deadline for him to act on approved legislation. With Thursday’s tally, Sisolak has signed 615 of 640 bills passed by the Legislature and vetoed two. The governor’s office has scheduled a number of bill-signing events for Friday.

Public records reform was pushed by Right to Know Nevada, a coalition of civil rights and good-government groups and media organizations including the Review-Journal. The original bill sought far tougher penalties against agencies that block or stall on providing records, including punitive court fines and costs.

The bill received a series of amendments in the final week that scaled back the schedule of potential fines — to $1,000 for a first offense up to $10,000 for third and later offenses within 10 years, with fines going to benefit the state archive and library. Other changes addressed local agency concerns about records privacy. The bill also tightens requirements for how agencies respond to and correspond with a requester on providing documents.

The governor has long been an advocate for easy, prompt public access to government records.

“When you say public records, people need to remember they’re public,” he told the Review-Journal in April after his first 100 days in office. “That means the public has a right to see them. It shouldn’t be a game of, you know, hide and seek in terms of how to find (them).”

The governor also signed two wide-ranging appropriations bills, one to fund various state museums and cultural institutions and the other adding funds for school safety and student mental health programs, including social workers and school police officers.

Friday is the last day for Sisolak either to veto or sign legislation passed during the 80th session that adjourned June 3. He can also allow laws to go into effect without his signature.

By law, Nevada’s governors have 10 days following adjournment to take action on bills, with Sundays excluded. Any bills vetoed after adjournment come back to the Legislature at the start of its next session for override consideration. Thus far, Sisolak has only vetoed two bills.

Contact Bill Dentzer at bdentzer@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-0661. Follow @DentzerNews on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Tomi Lahren Speaks at UNLV - VIDEO
Fox News contributor and UNLV alumna Tomi Lahren returned to campus Wednesday night for a speech, titled “Stay Triggered,” that drew an auditorium of supporters as well as a group of protesters outside. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders released from Las Vegas hospital - VIDEO
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issues a statement after he was released from Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. (Bernie Sanders via Twitter)
Democratic presidential candidates speak on impeachment - VIDEO
Democratic presidential candidates attending the March for Our Lives/Giffords Gun Safety Forum in Las Vegas comment on possible impeachment proceedings. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden Las Vegas Rally Highlights - Video
2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, came to Las Vegas to talk guns, climate change and the Ukranian-Trump scandal. Biden was interrupted by a protestor who sat amongst supporters at the rally and continued with his speech. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Joe Biden comments on Trump and his campaign efforts in Nevada - Video
After an impeachment inquiry was opened on Donald Trump, Joe Biden talks with Review-Journal politics reporter Rory Appleton about Trump and his campaign in Nevada. (Angus Kelly & James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Press Association lauds approval of public records bill

The Nevada Press Association recognized the efforts of several state lawmakers — state Sens. David Parks, Melanie Scheible, Ben Kieckhefer, Jason Frierson — and Gov. Steve Sisolak for their efforts in passing a bill to strengthen the state’s public records laws.