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HOUSE BILL NO. 620
INTRODUCED BY C. TUSS, C. CHRISTIAENS, T. BECK, D. MAHLUM, G. MASOLO, J. TESTER, J. TROPILA
AN ACT CLARIFYING THE PUBLIC'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO EXAMINE PUBLIC DOCUMENTS; CLARIFYING THAT THE RIGHT DOES NOT EXTEND TO INFORMATION IN WHICH THERE IS A PRIVACY INTEREST, INCLUDING LEGITIMATE TRADE SECRETS AND MATTERS RELATING TO INDIVIDUAL OR PUBLIC SAFETY; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 2-6-101, 2-6-102, AND 2-6-104, MCA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 2-6-101, MCA, is amended to read:
"2-6-101. Definitions. (1) Writings are of two kinds:
(a) public; and
(2) Public writings are:
(a) the written acts or records of the acts of the sovereign authority, of official bodies and tribunals, and of public officers, legislative, judicial, and executive, whether of this state, of the United States, of a sister state, or of a foreign country, except records that are constitutionally protected from disclosure;
(b) public records, kept in this state, of private writings, except as provided in 22-1-1103 and 22-3-807 and except for records that are constitutionally protected from disclosure.
(3) Public writings are divided into four classes:
(b) judicial records;
(c) other official documents;
(d) public records, kept in this state, of private writings.
(4) All other writings are private."
Section 2. Section 2-6-102, MCA, is amended to read:
"2-6-102. Citizens entitled to inspect and copy public writings. (1) Every citizen has a right to inspect and take a
copy of any public writings of this state, except as provided in 22-1-1103,
or 22-3-807, or subsection (3) of this section and
as otherwise expressly provided by statute.
(2) Every public officer having the custody of a public writing
which that a citizen has a right to inspect is bound to give
him the citizen on demand a certified copy of it, on payment of the legal fees therefor for the copy, and such the copy is
admissible as evidence in like cases and with like effect as the original writing.
(3) Records and materials that are constitutionally protected from disclosure are not subject to the provisions of this section. Information that is constitutionally protected from disclosure is information in which there is an individual privacy interest that clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure, including legitimate trade secrets, as defined in 30-14-402, and matters related to individual or public safety.
(4) A public officer may withhold from public scrutiny information relating to individual privacy or individual or public safety or security of public facilities, including jails, correctional facilities, private correctional facilities, and prisons, if release of the information may jeopardize the safety of facility personnel, the public, or inmates of a facility. Security features that may be protected under this section include but are not limited to architectural floor plans, blueprints, designs, drawings, building materials, alarms system plans, surveillance techniques, and facility staffing plans, including staff numbers and locations. A public officer may not withhold from public scrutiny any more information than is required to protect an individual privacy interest or safety or security interest."
Section 3. Section 2-6-104, MCA, is amended to read:
"2-6-104. Records of officers open to public inspection. Except as provided in 27-18-111 and 42-6-101, the public records and other matters, except records that are constitutionally protected from disclosure, in the office of any officer are at all times during office hours open to the inspection of any person."
Section 4. Severability. If a part of [this act] is invalid, all valid parts that are severable from the invalid part remain in effect. If a part of [this act] is invalid in one or more of its applications, the part remains in effect in all valid applications that are severable from the invalid applications.
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Latest Version of HB 620 (HB0620.ENR)
Processed for the Web on April 19, 1999 (10:49AM)
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