104°F
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
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)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST