Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 4: State Government

Chapter 3: Creation, Organization and Powers of Administrative Departments and Divisions

Part 7: Department of Economic and Community Development

TCA 4-3-730: Records open to public inspection -- Exceptions.

(a)  The department of economic and community development adopts as its official policy the principle of open records and, unless otherwise provided by this section, the information and documents maintained, received or produced by such department shall be open for inspection by the public.

(b)  Any binding contract or agreement entered into or signed by the department that obligates public funds shall, together with all supporting records and documentation, be considered a public record and open for public inspection as of the date such contract or agreement is entered into or signed.

(c)  (1)  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, any record, documentary materials, or other information, including proprietary information, received, produced or maintained by the department shall be considered public unless the commissioner, with the affirmative agreement of the attorney general and reporter, determines that a document or information is of such a sensitive nature that its disclosure or release would seriously harm the ability of this state to compete or conclude agreements or contracts for economic or community development.

     (2)  If the commissioner, with the agreement of the attorney general and reporter, determines pursuant to subdivision (c)(1) that a document or information should not be released or disclosed because of its sensitive nature, such document or information shall be considered confidential for a period of up to five (5) years from the date such a determination is made. After such period, the document or information made confidential by this subsection (c) shall become a public record and shall be open for inspection.

(d)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to trade secrets received, maintained or produced by the department. All such trade secrets shall remain confidential.

(e)  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

     (1)  "Proprietary information" means commercial or financial information that is used either directly or indirectly in the business of any person or company submitting information to the department, and that gives such person an advantage or an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use such information; and

     (2)  "Trade secrets" means manufacturing processes, materials used in manufacturing processes, and costs associated with the manufacturing process of a person or company submitting information to the department.

(f)  (1)  The provisions of this section shall not apply to company documents or records containing marketing information or capital plans that are provided to the department with the understanding that they are now and should remain confidential. Any such document or record shall remain confidential until such time as the provider thereof no longer requires its confidentiality.

     (2)  As used in subdivision (f)(1), unless the context otherwise requires:

          (A)  "Capital plans" means plans, feasibility studies, and similar research and information that will contribute to the identification of future business sites and capital investments; and

          (B)  "Marketing information" means marketing studies, marketing analyses, and similar research and information designed to identify potential customers and business relationships.

History: [Acts 1988, ch. 894, § 1.]