New law on public records requests will affect schools
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Deadlines for public records requests went into effect Monday.
The updated public records law defines request procedures for public bodies, including schools. The 2017 Legislature passed Senate Bill 481 to speed up the process.
The law requires that public bodies respond to records requests “as soon as practicable and without unreasonable delay.” New under the law is a requirement that public bodies must acknowledge the request within five business days. They have 15 days from the date of the request to deliver the records, say why they can’t deliver the records or provide an estimated date when they can complete the request.
The law says public bodies can take longer than 15 days to complete the request “if compliance would be impracticable” because staff are unavailable, the request would impede other necessary services or there is a high volume of requests.
SB 481 was amended to give schools a little bit of a break. “Business day” for schools does not include any days when administrative offices are closed, such as summer or winter breaks. OSBA offers additional guidance on the law, as does the Special Districts Association of Oregon.