Another Open Records bill we’re working on is House Bill 215, sponsored by Rep. Bart Rowland, R-Tompkinsville. Currently, accident reports in possession of the Kentucky State Police are not released to the public, including the news media.
Here’s the current language in KRS 189.635 making these closed records:
All accident reports filed with the Department of Kentucky State Police in compliance with subsection (4) above shall not be considered open records under KRS 61.872 to 61.884 and shall remain confidential except that the department may disclose the identity of a person involved in an accident when his or her identity is not otherwise known or when he or she denies his or her presence at an accident. Except as provided in subsection (9) of this section, all other accident reports required by this section, and the information contained in the reports, shall be confidential and exempt from public disclosure except when produced pursuant to a properly executed subpoena or court order, or except pursuant to subsection (8) of this section. These reports shall be made available only to the parties to the accident, the parents or guardians of a minor who is party to the accident, and insurers or their written designee for insurance business purposes of any party who is the subject of the report, or to the attorneys of the parties.
At the encouragement of the insurance industry, the effort is being made through HB 215 that would allow the State Police to release the records to news-gathering organizations.
The bill passed the House 99-0 in late February and has been sitting in the Senate Transportation Committee since February 27. The committee’s next scheduled meeting is Wednesday at 9 a.m. but no agenda has been made public so we don’t know if it will take up the bill at that time or not.