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May 24, 2019

Request: Did the Industrial Commission violate the open records law by failing to provide copies of records and failing to respond to a request in a reasonable time?

Conclusion: The Industrial Commission received a request relating to records of the Lignite Energy Council, some of which had been previously designated as confidential by the Industrial Commission. The IC provided some open records but denied the request for the confidential records. At the time, the IC also had before it a new application from the LEC along with its request to continue to designate certain information as confidential. At its next meeting, the IC held an executive session to review the records. In an open meeting the IC approved the request for confidentiality from LEC but also required the LEC to provide a report containing sufficient information for the public to determine that the work outlined in the application was being completed. Once the report was provided to the IC, a copy was sent to the requester. The IC did not violate the open records law because it was authorized to designate materials as confidential pursuant to N.D.C.C. 54-17.5-06. Further, the IC continually corresponded and worked with the requester to provide available records within a reasonable time.

Opinion 2019-O-09

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