House Finance Committee Passes Out OIP’s Appeals Bill

Posted on Apr 3, 2012 in What's New

April 3, 2012

The state Office of Information Practices (OIP) is pleased to report that the House Finance Committee has voted to pass out of committee OIP’s proposal to clarify the appeals process for agencies under both the Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) and the Sunshine Law, as S.B. 2858, S.D. 1, H.D. 2. The committee amended the bill to include an effective date of July 1, 2030 to ensure that it will go into conference.

At the March 30, 2012 decision-making on the bill, the House Finance Committee rejected a proposal to preclude agencies from bringing judicial appeals under either the Sunshine Law or the UIPA. The member of the public who suggested the no-appeal amendment had argued that the bill was weakening OIP’s power, contrary to the UIPA’s original legislative intent. Interestingly, other testimony, primarily from the counties, has argued that the bill was giving OIP too much power. Actually, the bill is a realistic and reasonable compromise, which is supported by the Governor, many departments, agencies, and boards, and open government groups like the League of Women Voters. The bill is designed to: (1) create a uniform process under both the UIPA and Sunshine Law by which agencies may judicially challenge OIP’s decisions, (2) avoid further litigation over jurisdictional issues, (3) protect both OIP and requesters from being forced to obtain legal counsel in order to defend against agency appeals, and (4) recognize the high standard of review that the courts have already applied in reviewing OIP’s decisions. Thus, in order to settle contentious issues concerning agency appeals and to provide a clear and uniform process to resolve challenges to OIP’s opinions, OIP strongly supports the passage of this bill.

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