Ivey signs ‘most significant amendment to Alabama’s public records law in over 50 years’

(Office of Gov. Kay Ivey)

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  – Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday, May 8, signed Senate Bill 270, a bill to set specific timelines that public entities in Alabama must follow when responding to public records requests. Sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr and Rep. Cynthia Almond, Senate Bill 270 is the most significant amendment to Alabama’s public records law in over 50 years.

Last year, upon beginning her second term as governor, Governor Ivey issued Executive Order 734, “Promoting Transparency in State Government Through Enhanced Accessibility to Public Records,” to deliver on her commitment to strengthen public confidence in state government. This bill largely codifies the Governor’s executive order and comes as a direct result of the governor’s leadership.

By signing SB270 into law, Governor Ivey marked another step forward in improving transparency and accessibility in government – her 2023 inaugural commitment to ensure state government works with greater efficiency for all Alabamians.

“Today, we build on the foundation laid by Executive Order 734 to ensure the principle of transparency endures beyond the Ivey Administration. Transparency isn’t just a buzzword – it’s a commitment to letting the sunlight in and ensuring our citizens can hold their government accountable,” said Ivey. “Like EO 734, this law protects government against overly burdensome requests while meaningfully improving fairness, access and the people’s right to timely insight into how their government works.”

After signing SB270, the Alabama Press Association and Alabama Broadcasters Association expressed their praise for Governor Ivey’s strong voice and accompanying actions in fostering an open and transparent government.

“The Alabama Press Association would like to thank Governor Ivey and her staff for working with us over the past several months on SB270, a bill that creates timelines in our Open Records Act,” said Felicia Mason, Alabama Press Association executive director. “Any citizen has the right to receive an acknowledgement and a timely response when making a request for a public record. The Governor’s Office played an integral role in getting a good compromise between interested parties. We appreciate Governor Ivey’s continued dedication to transparency in government.”

“The Alabama Broadcasters Association (ABA) is very appreciative of the time and effort Governor Ivey and her staff committed to working on SB270 with stakeholders over many months in an effort to create timelines in the state’s Open Records Act,” said Alabama Broadcasters Association President Sharon Tinsley. “In 2023, the ABA recognized Governor Ivey with an award for her Executive Order addressing public records. Now, with her signature, the governor is assuring Alabamians the right to a timely response when making a request. We applaud her continued efforts to see improvements in our open records law in Alabama.”