Transparency organizations from across the U.S. are urging the Uniform Law Commission to prioritize the public’s right to know in making recommendations for redacting personal information in public records.

The concerns are outlined in a June 17, 2022, letter written by Georgia First Amendment Foundation Legislative Chair Sarah Brewerton-Palmer and endorsed by the National Freedom of Information Coalition. In all, 27 government transparency organizations and advocates signed the letter to the Uniform Law Commission, which was established in 1892 to help simplify and streamline interstate commerce.

The ULC’s study committee on redaction of personal information from public records aims to protect certain public officials and others by limiting access to their personal information in government records. But current draft recommendations by the ULC committee are broad and could lead to model legislation that paves the way for reduced access to public records across the country. In addition, the study committee’s recommendations could increase the records-management burden on local government officials and staff, as well as restrict access to public information that is essential to everyday business transactions, such as mortgage approvals.

The open government advocates say narrower measures already available under laws in many states — including Georgia — are a better option for protecting public officials without undermining government transparency. Read the letter.