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It’s not enough to have state laws that require open government and public access to records.

Not when government employs an army of bureaucrats and armed officers who are protective of their turf, suspicious of the press and full of their own ideas about which proceedings and documents should be subject to public inspection.

The Review-Journal revealed as much Monday when it reported that Family Court officials sealed temporary protective order documents starting this year, in direct violation of Nevada’s public records law. Temporary protective orders are supposed to be available to the public on request. …

That was news to the court’s chief judge and executive officer. When the public records violation was brought to their attention, they blamed it on confusion about a federal law that prohibits some protection order documents from being posted electronically, saying a supervisor wrongly imposed blanket secrecy.

It’s a serious problem when the front-line keepers of public records aren’t adequately trained in public records law. It’s an even bigger problem when their decisions aren’t reviewed or approved by officials who know the law. …

The only way for the public to verify that government is handling these requests effectively and fairly is to be able to see the documents considered by the court.

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