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Lobbyist: State could be sued over legislation

SALEM — A lobbyist who represents county governments says Oregon will face more lawsuits from local governments if lawmakers pass public records reform in 2017 without a supermajority vote.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has submitted draft legislation that would for the first time set a deadline for public bodies to respond to records requests. The bill gives public bodies 10 business days to furnish requested records, with certain exceptions.

The Daily Astorian reports that Rob Bovett, a lobbyist for the Association of Oregon Counties, said some county officials might see that deadline as an unfunded mandate because they might have to pay overtime or hire people to meet the deadline.

Bovett made the comments during a discussion Wednesday about possible changes to the bill. Lobbyists who represent local governments asked Rosenblum to revise the bill to give public bodies 15 business days to provide requested records.

Michael Kron, special counsel to the attorney general, said some of the revisions to the bill will include the longer 15-day deadline but also language to emphasize records should be provided as soon as possible.