Reporters' proposals on how to improve access to government records have won the endorsement of the state's Information Practices Task Force.
Tuesday's 12-4 vote ended a two-year study by the panel, often fraught with acrimony as news and governmental representatives grappled over open-access issues.The proposed measures will be forwarded to the Legislature's State and Local Affairs Interim Committee next week.
The task force's legislative package sets procedures for classification of and access to state and local government records.
It also establishes an appeals process for reporters and others denied access to public documents.
Another facet of the bill is a requirement that government agencies, when faced with records access requests, weigh privacy and public-access interests in favor of access when the interests are considered equal.
Further, the proposal contains guidelines requiring police agencies to release certain types of basic information.
Standard-Examiner Managing Editor Brian Mertz argued for establishment of minimum-access standards.