Haslam staff's partial TRA records request denial raises questions

Monday, April 30, 2012 at 1:03pm
By Steven Hale

Gov. Bill Haslam’s staff has refused a request from the Chattanooga Times Free Press for records revealing advice the administration received about legislation to restructure the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

The Chattanooga daily reports that records it did obtain show that the governor’s staff sought input from regulated utilities and industry associations about the administration proposal. The administration officials, however, withheld records that would show what input they received and who they received it from, citing “attorney work product and deliberative process privilege.”

Tennessee Press Association Policy Director Frank Gibson told the Times Free Press he questioned that argument because the requested information was part of the formation of public policy, not mere conversations between the governor and his lawyer.

The bill, which has already passed the Senate, is scheduled to come up on the House floor Monday. It would change the TRA’s four-member full-time board of directors into a five-member part-time board. The bill also includes new requirements for directors’ education and experience.

Earlier this year, Haslam called for a standardized process for deciding which open records requests are legitimate, saying that while “it’s the public’s right to know,” other requests are “just blanket fishing expeditions.”

7 Comments on this post:

By: pswindle on 4/30/12 at 12:38

Here we go again! Let the public know. If this were a democrat the GOP would be singing from the mounain tops about all of this secrecy. We are in for a long four years.

By: oldhickorytony on 5/1/12 at 6:12

Well... I'm a liberal as it gets democrat that may (against every fiber in his body) be agreeing with the governor on this and also on his doing away with the full time positions on the TRA. I could still be convinced to change my mind on the TRA... but I do tend to agree with him on fishing expeditions.

pswindle - I hate to break it to you, but knowing this state's history and patterns of voting behavior we're in a for long 8 years (it could have easily been way worse, though)...

By: BenDover on 5/1/12 at 7:07

Boo Hoo... The libs got slapped back on a fishing expedition. Hoping for some politically incorrect or class insensitive verbiage to pop out so they could cry 'foul!', they now want to point to nefarious 'secrecy'. It's not like they're plotting behind the voters backs to pass an income tax or something, so the people NEED TO KNOW!

By: BenDover on 5/1/12 at 7:32

Great article by Will back from July

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/burning-down-the-house/2011/06/30/AGeRSGuH_story.html?hpid=z3

By: Loner on 5/1/12 at 10:53

Looks like your business-tycoon-turned-Governor...Bill Haslam...the Tea Bagger Governor....is out to gut what's left of worker and environmental protections still in place in the Volunteer State.

The Gov invited a bunch of CEO's into the discussion about deregulation and restructuring of the TSA, the TN Regulatory Agency. They gave their advice and now the Gov. wants to make the TSA a part-time agency, not full time as it is now....he also wants to add a 5th member to the TSA board...probably a business-friendly crony.

The people have a right to know who suggested what and why they suggested it.

Gov. Haslam is pulling a Tricky Dick here...calling for executive privilege...that's BS, people don't settle for that.

Looks like no environmental, safety or worker's rights people were invited to Haslam's closed door meetings....only the captains of industry.

Haslam brags that Tennessee is now more "business-friendly". than ever before.

Translation: Tennessee is now more worker-unfriendly than ever before.

By: Loner on 5/1/12 at 11:54

They call Tennessee the "Volunteer State", because they expect the common people to volunteer their time, energy & labor for free?

The South has never fully recovered from the idea that free labor is a good thing.....Southern aristocrats are still in control.....with the aid of the Southern Holymen.

By: pswindle on 5/1/12 at 8:33

I hope that a democrat can come in and save TN from the greedy hands of our Governor and the business poeple that want you to work for nothing and with bad working conditions. Without labor unions, we will not have 40 hour work week, paid vacations, sick pay, no breaks during the day and everything that the labor unions got for the working people. This is where the GOP is taking the working people across this country. Why do you sthink that they fought so hard sto get rid of the unions? I want to shout out to WI and Ohio, and least the people finally woke up in those states.