Senators push for more transparency in government worker personnel records


A growing number of senators are signing on to a bill that would make more information available to the public on government employee performance.

Under Senate Bill 355, a description of the reasons for personnel actions like suspensions, promotions, demotions, transfers, and separations would become public records.

Under current law, the public can only access the date and type of these changes. If a state employee is fired, the termination letter is public record currently. This would remain in place.

The new transparency requirements would apply to state employees and workers in local school districts, counties, cities, and colleges and universities.

Should the bill — known as the Government Transparency Act of 2021 — pass, the media and public at large would have a broader window into disciplinary actions taken against government workers. Reporters frequently request the slate of personnel information available under the public records law during investigations, when a government employee is implicated in wrongdoing, or in high-profile incidents like police shootings.

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