Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-10-02

Changes are coming for Alabama's laws on access to government records. What will that mean for us as citizens, as businesses, and in the routine activity of state and local government?

"Changing Open Government Laws in Alabama" is a day-long forum at Samford University on Friday, October 27 to discuss new legislation to be unveiled in the upcoming 2007 Alabama legislative session. This free event is sponsored by Samford University's Cumberland School of Law and the School of Business. The event will begin at 8 a.m. in the Cumberland School of Law Moot Courtroom on the Samford campus.

Session speakers and panel participants include members of the Open Records Task Force, commissioned by joint resolution of the Alabama Legislature to reform access to public records in Alabama. Task Force members who drafted the proposed legislation represent a variety of interests including the news media, the legal profession, and state and local government.

Forum sessions throughout the day include a morning historical overview of open records law in Alabama, panel discussions addressing various aspects of the new legislation, and an afternoon panel on the recently enacted Open Meetings Act. At lunch, State Archivist Ed Bridges offers his perspective on the challenges presented by technological advances to governmental records retention.

"Clearly, having open access to government records is a key issue affecting most businesses at one time or another," said Beck Taylor, dean of the Samford University School of Business. "The success of a free economy rides heavily on a transparent environment with government regulators and other state and local officials. We encourage all interested business leaders to attend this forum."

"There is no more important topic than access to government information. That is why I am extremely pleased that the law school and the business school at Samford are hosting this program on open government laws," said John Carroll, dean of Samford's Cumberland School of Law. "Dialogue on this issue is critical to the framing of a test for access which accommodates the needs of government for secrecy and the public's right to know."

Lunch is provided, but space is limited. RSVPs should be made to Pam Davis at (205) 726-2781 or via email to

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.