OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would protect the privacy of teachers, police officers and other public employees passed unanimously in the House today with a vote of 82-0.
House Bill 1876, authored by Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, would keep private the home addresses, home telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, private email addresses and private mobile phone numbers of current and former public employees.
"This information is being harvested and used in ways that harm our public employees," West said. "In this year of unrest, our police officers’ personal information has been sought by groups that seek their harm. In other instances, our public school teachers are being targeted by groups that seek to market unsolicited material to them."
West said she received input on this measure from the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, the State Department of Education and the Oklahoma Press Association, which has an interest in open records. All support this change, and it has the blessing of law enforcement and teachers as well.
West ran a similar bill last year, which passed the House unanimously, but it was sidelined by COVID.
HB 1876 clarifies and extends an exception to the Oklahoma Open Records Act. Under the measure, the personal information mentioned above would not be open to public inspection or disclosure.
With House passage, the bill now advances to the state Senate for consideration.