According to The Lens, led by a member of LION's Board of Directors, Editor Steve Beatty, getting access to public records in New Orleans isn't easy. So the indie news site filed suit this week, "asking that a judge declare that the city has habitually violated public records law because it commonly takes weeks or months to produce documents that are supposed to be available immediately."
From The Lens' story:
State law allows government agencies three days to provide access to public records if they’re in use. In the examples cited in The Lens’ lawsuit, the city took up to four months. The lawsuit also cites five unfulfilled requests dating back to January.
Over the past two years, the city has failed to provide records within the legal limit in about two-thirds of The Lens’ requests, according to the filing by Lens attorney Scott Sternberg of Baldwin Haspel Burke & Mayer.
Beatty said the nonprofit news outlet has dealt with this for years. “The Lens is taking this to court because we’re tired of the city simply not complying with the public-records law,” he said.
The fact is that the city doesn’t comply and it’s not even a secret. A lot of people are doing things that are time-dependent and we need the information to move ahead, it is imperative that information is received quickly so that our audience can make informed decisions in looking at policy,” he told the Louisiana Record.
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