To What Records Is the Public Entitled Access?

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It has already been noted that the legislature intended the fullest possible public access to public records. But what are public records? Generally speaking, the courts have ruled that “[i]n those instances where documents have been made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency, then a presumption of openness exists, and the documents are public records within the meaning of  T.C.A.. § 10-7-503.”[1]  Access is not limited by the format in which the record or information is kept. However, the presumption of openness is overcome whenever state law provides that a record shall be kept confidential. 

            [1]  Griffin v. City of Knoxville, 821 S.W.2d 921, 924 (Tenn. 1991) as quoted in Op. Tenn. Att’y Gen. No. 99-011 (January 25, 1999).