Tennesse House advances a bill to allow tourism records to remain secret for 10 years

Feb 29, 2024, 3:14 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s Republican-dominant House on Thursday advanced legislation that would allow the state’s tourism public records to remain secret and hidden from the public eye.

The bill, proposed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, would allow the head of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to exempt any public records for 10 years deemed “sensitive” by both the commissioner and attorney general.

The legislation is similar to privacy exemptions provided to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which allows records also deemed sensitive to remain tucked away from the public for five years — with a possibility of another five year extension.

“What this would essentially do is allow for the Department of Tourism in their negotiations with businesses and tourism interests of the state of Tennessee to keep their trade secrets and proprietary information safe,” said Republican Rep. Andrew Farmer, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Farmer repeatedly cited that the state may be vying to host a Super Bowl in the near future and such negotiations over “mega events” should not be aired publicly.

Democrats criticized the bill as undermining government transparency.

“Call me old fashioned, but I believe the the public, taxpayers and our constituents deserve to know what the state is spending money on, and this diminishes transparency,” said Democratic Rep. Aftyn Behn.

Immediately following Behn’s comment, Republicans moved to cut off debate early.

The bill passed the House with a 69-16 vote, with four additional members voting present. It now must clear the Senate, which to date, has not yet scheduled the bill for a hearing.

“We’re not trying to hide things. We’re not trying to pay people, and we’re definitely not going to put them in posh hotel rooms and private jets,” Farmer said. “We’re not Washington, DC. We’re smart with our money in here in Tennessee.”

United States News

Associated Press

The Latest | Israeli strikes in Rafah kill at least 5

Palestinian hospital officials say Israeli airstrikes on the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip have killed at least five people. Among those killed in the strikes overnight and into Thursday were two children, identified in hospital records as Sham Najjar, 6, and Jamal Nabahan, 8. More than half of the territory’s population of […]

23 minutes ago

Associated Press

Colleges nationwide turn to police to quell pro-Palestine protests as commencement ceremonies near

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With graduations looming, student protesters doubled down early Thursday on their discontent of the Israel-Hamas war on campuses across the country as universities, including ones in California and Texas, have become quick to call in the police to end the demonstrations and make arrests. While grappling with growing protests from coast […]

48 minutes ago

Anti-Abortion activists rally outside the Supreme Court, Wednesday, April 24, 2024, in Washington. ...

Associated Press

Supreme Court justices unconvinced state abortion bans conflict with federal health care law

Conservative Supreme Court justices are skeptical that state abortion bans enacted after the overturning of Roe v. Wade violate federal law.

6 hours ago

Lisa Pisano looks at photos of her dog after her surgeries at NYU Langone Health in New York on Mon...

Associated Press

New Jersey woman becomes second patient to receive kidney from gene-edited pig

A New Jersey woman who was near death received a transplanted pig kidney that stabilized her failing heart.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Instagram fraudster ‘Jay Mazini’ has been sentenced for his crypto scheme that preyed on Muslims

NEW YORK (AP) — The former Instagram influencer known as “ swindled millions of dollars from online followers and a network of Muslims during the pandemic was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday, prosecutors said. Jebara Igbara, 28, of New Jersey, had pleaded guilty to fraud charges, admitting that he created a Ponzi […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Connecticut Senate passes wide-ranging bill to regulate AI. But its fate remains uncertain

HARTFORD (AP) — The Connecticut Senate pressed ahead Wednesday with one of the first major legislative proposals in the U.S. to reign in bias in artificial intelligence decision-making and protect people from harm, including manufactured videos or deepfakes. The vote was held despite concerns the bill might stifle innovation, become a burden for small businesses […]

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Tennesse House advances a bill to allow tourism records to remain secret for 10 years