Front Page History: Kentucky was still working on Open Records Act 44 years ago

Published 6:03 pm Monday, April 29, 2019

On this day 44 years ago, the front page of The Advocate-Messenger announced progress of legislation that would soon become the state’s Open Records Act.

“A rough draft of a proposed open records act which would open all public records to inspection by anyone has been approved by a special legislative committee,” the A1 story read. “… The bill defines public records as ‘all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, discs, recording or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics, which are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of or retained by a public agency.'”

The story went on to explain some exceptions that would be carved out for records such as “preliminary” or “draft” notes, personal information that would constitute an invasion of privacy, intelligence information and law enforcement investigation records, confidential business information such as trade secrets and tax returns.

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Kentucky legislators went on to pass the Open Records Act into law in 1976. It was passed following the Open Meetings Act, which passed in 1974. The laws have been amended over the years, and continue to this day to protect generally unfettered access to government records and actions by all members of the public.

Also on A1 on April 30, 1975:

• A story headlined “Saigon government surrenders” announced the unconditional surrender of the South Vietnamese government, bringing an official end to the Vietnam War.

“At first the South Vietnamese stood in doorways and watched the (North Vietnamese) troops pour into the city, then some began cheering,” the story read. “Many former government soldiers turned in their arms and tried to lose themselves amid the civilian population. But there were periodic outbursts of gunfire — some from pockets of resistance and others from celebrating Viet Cong and North Vietnamese firing into the air.”

• Locally, the paper reported that six thefts had been reported from around Danville and Boyle County the previous day. Fishing equipment worth $225 had been taken from a boat parked in a resident’s yard; more fishing equipment was taken from a vehicle “parked at the Dix River bridge;” a $143 bicycle was stolen on Centre College’s campus; a car radio and speakers were stolen from a car; “clothes hanging between the front doors of the home of Howard C. Spears” worth $205 were taken sometime before 12:30 p.m.; and two hubcaps were stolen off a vehicle “while it was parked at Goodyear at Third and Walnut” streets.