Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 10: Public Libraries, Archives and Records

Chapter 7: Public Records

Part 5: Miscellaneous Provisions

TCA 10-7-504: Confidential records -- Exceptions.

(a) (1) The medical records of patients in state, county and municipal hospitals and medical facilities, and the medical records of persons receiving medical treatment, in whole or in part, at the expense of the state, county or municipality, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public. Any records 56-1-404 the source of body parts for transplantation or any information concerning persons donating body parts for transplantation shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(2) (A) All investigative records of the Tennessee bureau of investigation, the office of inspector general, all criminal investigative files of the department of agriculture and the department of environment and conservation, all criminal investigative files of the motor vehicle enforcement division of the department of safety relating to stolen vehicles or parts, and all files of the handgun carry permit and driver license issuance divisions of the department of safety relating to bogus handgun carry permits and bogus driver licenses issued to undercover law enforcement agents shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to inspection by members of the public. The information contained in such records shall be disclosed to the public only in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court of record; provided, however, that such investigative records of the Tennessee bureau of investigation shall be open to inspection by elected members of the general assembly if such inspection is directed by a duly adopted resolution of either house or of a standing or joint committee of either house. Records shall not be available to any member of the executive branch except to the governor and to those directly involved in the investigation in the specified agencies.

(B) The records of the departments of agriculture and environment and conservation referenced in subdivision (a)(2)(A) shall cease to be confidential when the investigation is closed by the department or when the court in which a criminal prosecution is brought has entered an order concluding all proceedings and the opportunity for direct appeal has been exhausted; provided, however, that any identifying information about a confidential informant or undercover law enforcement agent shall remain confidential.

(C) The Tennessee bureau of investigation, upon written request by an authorized person of a state governmental agency, is authorized to furnish and disclose to the requesting agency the criminal history, records and data from its files, and the files of the federal government and other states to which it may have access, for the limited purpose of determining whether a license or permit should be issued to any person, corporation, partnership or other entity, to engage in an authorized activity affecting the rights, property or interests of the public or segments thereof.

(3) The records, documents and papers in the possession of the military department which involve the security of the United States and/or the state of Tennessee, including, but not restricted to, national guard personnel records, staff studies and investigations, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(4) (A) The records of students in public educational institutions shall be treated as confidential. Information in such records relating to academic performance, financial status of a student or the student's parent or guardian, medical or psychological treatment or testing shall not be made available to unauthorized personnel of the institution or to the public or any agency, except those agencies authorized by the educational institution to conduct specific research or otherwise authorized by the governing board of the institution, without the consent of the student involved or the parent or guardian of a minor student attending any institution of elementary or secondary education, except as otherwise provided by law or regulation pursuant thereto, and except in consequence of due legal process or in cases when the safety of persons or property is involved. The governing board of the institution, the department of education, and the Tennessee higher education commission shall have access on a confidential basis to such records as are required to fulfill their lawful functions. Statistical information not identified with a particular student may be released to any person, agency, or the public; and information relating only to an individual student's name, age, address, dates of attendance, grade levels completed, class placement and academic degrees awarded may likewise be disclosed.

(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a)(4)(A) to the contrary, unless otherwise prohibited by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), codified in 20 U.S.C. SC 1232g, an institution of post-secondary education shall disclose to an alleged victim of any crime of violence, as that term is defined in 18 U.S.C. SC 16, or a nonforcible sex offense, the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense with respect to such crime or offense.

(C) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a)(4)(A) to the contrary, unless otherwise prohibited by FERPA, an institution of post-secondary education shall disclose the final results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is an alleged perpetrator of any crime of violence, as that term is defined in 18 U.S.C. SC 16, or a nonforcible sex offense, if the institution determines as a result of that disciplinary proceeding that the student committed a violation of the institution's rules or policies with respect to such crime or offense.

(D) For the purpose of this section, the final results of any disciplinary proceeding:

(i) Shall include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the institution on that student;

(ii) May include the name of any other student, such as a victim or witness, only with the written consent of that other student; and

(iii) Shall only apply to disciplinary hearings in which the final results were reached on or after October 7, 1998.

(E) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a)(4)(A) to the contrary, unless otherwise prohibited by FERPA, an educational institution shall disclose information provided to the institution under former SC 40-39-106 [repealed], concerning registered sex offenders who are required to register under former SC 40-39-103 [repealed].

(F) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a)(4)(A) to the contrary, unless otherwise prohibited by FERPA, an institution of higher education shall disclose to a parent or legal guardian of a student information regarding any violation of any federal, state, or local law, or of any rule or policy of the institution, governing the use or possession of alcohol, a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue, regardless of whether that information is contained in the student's education records, if:

(i) The student is under twenty-one (21) years of age;

(ii) The institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession; and

(iii) The final determination that the student committed such a disciplinary violation was reached on or after October 7, 1998.

(G) Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(4)(A), SC 37-5-107 or SC 37-1-612, the institution shall release records to the parent or guardian of a victim or alleged victim of child abuse or child sexual abuse pursuant to SC 37-1-403(i)(3) or SC 37-1-605(d)(2). Any person or entity that is provided access to records under this subdivision (a)(4)(G) shall be required to maintain the records in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations regarding confidentiality.

(5) (A) The following books, records and other materials in the possession of the office of the attorney general and reporter which relate to any pending or contemplated legal or administrative proceeding in which the office of the attorney general and reporter may be involved shall not be open for public inspection:

(i) Books, records or other materials which are confidential or privileged by state law;

(ii) Books, records or other materials relating to investigations conducted by federal law enforcement or federal regulatory agencies, which are confidential or privileged under federal law;

(iii) The work product of the attorney general and reporter or any attorney working under the attorney general and reporter's supervision and control;
(iv) Communications made to or by the attorney general and reporter or any attorney working under the attorney general and reporter's supervision and control in the context of the attorney-client relationship; or

(v) Books, records and other materials in the possession of other departments and agencies which are available for public inspection and copying pursuant to SCSC 10-7-503 and 10-7-506. It is the intent of this section to leave subject to public inspection and copying pursuant to SCSC 10-7-503 and 10-7-506 such books, records and other materials in the possession of other departments even though copies of the same books, records and other materials which are also in the possession of the office of the attorney general and reporter are not subject to inspection or copying in the office of the attorney general and reporter; provided, that such records, books and materials are available for copying and inspection in such other departments.

(B) Books, records and other materials made confidential by this subsection (a) which are in the possession of the office of the attorney general and reporter shall be open to inspection by the elected members of the general assembly, if such inspection is directed by a duly adopted resolution of either house or of a standing or joint committee of either house and is required for the conduct of legislative business.

(C) Except for the provisions of subdivision (a)(5)(B), the books, records and materials made confidential or privileged by this subdivision (a)(5) shall be disclosed to the public only in the discharge of the duties of the office of the attorney general and reporter.

(6) State agency records containing opinions of value of real and personal property intended to be acquired for a public purpose shall not be open for public inspection until the acquisition thereof has been finalized. This shall not prohibit any party to a condemnation action from making discovery relative to values pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure as prescribed by law.

(7) Proposals received pursuant to personal service, professional service, and consultant service contract regulations, and related records, including evaluations and memoranda, shall be available for public inspection only after the completion of evaluation of same by the state. Sealed bids for the purchase of goods and services, and leases of real property, and individual purchase records, including evaluations and memoranda relating to same, shall be available for public inspection only after the completion of evaluation of same by the state.

(8) All investigative records and reports of the internal affairs division of the department of correction or of the department of children's services shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to inspection by members of the public. However, an employee of the department of correction or of the department of children's services shall be allowed to inspect such investigative records and reports if the records or reports form the basis of an adverse action against the employee. An employee of the department of correction shall also be allowed to inspect such investigative records of the internal affairs division of the department of correction, or relevant portion thereof, prior to a due process hearing at which disciplinary action is considered or issued unless the commissioner of correction specifically denies in writing the employee's request to examine such records prior to the hearing. The release of reports and records shall be in accordance with the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. The court or administrative judge having jurisdiction over the proceedings shall issue appropriate protective orders, when necessary, to ensure that the information is disclosed only to appropriate persons. The information contained in such records and reports shall be disclosed to the public only in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court of record.

(9) (A) Official health certificates, collected and maintained by the state veterinarian pursuant to rule chapter 0080-2-1 of the department of agriculture, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(B) Any data or records provided to or collected by the department of agriculture pursuant to the implementation and operation of premise identification or animal tracking programs shall be considered confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public. Likewise, all contingency plans prepared concerning the department's response to agriculture-related homeland security events shall be considered confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public. The department may disclose data or contingency plans to aid the law enforcement process or to protect human or animal health.

(C) Information received by the state that is required by federal law or regulation to be kept confidential shall be exempt from public disclosure and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(10) (A) The capital plans, marketing information, proprietary information and trade secrets submitted to the Tennessee venture capital network at Middle Tennessee State University shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(B) As used in this subdivision (a)(10), unless the context otherwise requires:

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

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

(iii) "Proprietary information" means commercial or financial information which is used either directly or indirectly in the business of any person or company submitting information to the Tennessee venture capital network at Middle Tennessee State University, and which gives such person an advantage or an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use such information;

(iv) "Trade secrets" means manufacturing processes, materials used therein, and costs associated with the manufacturing process of a person or company submitting information to the Tennessee venture capital network at Middle Tennessee State University.

(11) Records that are of historical research value which are given or sold to public archival institutions, public libraries, or libraries of a unit of the Tennessee board of regents or the University of Tennessee, when the owner or donor of such records wishes to place restrictions on access to the records shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public. This exemption shall not apply to any records prepared or received in the course of the operation of state or local governments.

(12) Personal information contained in motor vehicle records shall be treated as confidential and shall only be open for inspection in accordance with title 55, chapter 25.

(13) (A) All memoranda, work notes or products, case files and communications related to mental health intervention techniques conducted by mental health professionals in a group setting to provide job-related critical incident counseling and therapy to law enforcement officers, county and municipal correctional officers, dispatchers, emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technician-paramedics, and firefighters, both volunteer and professional, are confidential and privileged and are not subject to disclosure in any judicial or administrative proceeding unless all parties waive such privilege. In order for such privilege to apply, the incident counseling and/or therapy shall be conducted by a qualified mental health professional as defined in SC 33-1-101.

(B) For the purposes of this section, "group setting" means that more than one (1) person is present with the mental health professional when the incident counseling and/or therapy is being conducted.

(C) All memoranda, work notes or products, case files and communications pursuant to this section shall not be construed to be public records pursuant to this chapter.

(D) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting a licensed professional's obligation to report suspected child abuse or limiting such professional's duty to warn about dangerous individuals as provided under SCSC 33-3-206 -- 33-3-209, or other provisions relevant to the mental health professional's license.

(E) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the ability of a patient or client, or such person's survivor, to discover under the Rules of Civil Procedure or to admit in evidence under the Rules of Evidence any memoranda, work notes or products, case files and communications which are privileged by this section and which are relevant to a health care liability action or any other action by a patient against a mental health professional arising out of the professional relationship. In such an action against a mental health professional, neither shall anything in this section be construed as limiting the ability of the mental health professional to so discover or admit in evidence such memoranda, work notes or products, case files and communications.
(14) All riot, escape and emergency transport plans which are incorporated in a policy and procedures manual of county jails and workhouses or prisons operated by the department of correction or under private contract shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(15) (A) As used in this subdivision (a)(15), unless the context otherwise requires:

(i) "Identifying information" means the home and work addresses and telephone numbers, social security number, and any other information that could reasonably be used to locate the whereabouts of an individual;

(ii) "Protection document" means:

(a) An order of protection issued pursuant to title 36, chapter 3, part 6, that has been granted after proper notice and an opportunity to be heard;

(b) A similar order of protection issued by the court of another jurisdiction;

(c) An extension of an ex parte order of protection granted pursuant to SC 36-3-605(a);

(d) A similar extension of an ex parte order of protection granted by a court of competent jurisdiction in another jurisdiction;

(e) A restraining order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting violence against the person to whom it is issued;

(f) A court order protecting the confidentiality of certain information issued upon the request of a district attorney general to a victim or witness in a criminal case, whether pending or completed; and

(g) An affidavit from the director of a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter certifying that an individual is a victim in need of protection; provided, that such affidavit is on a standardized form to be developed and distributed to such centers and shelters by the Tennessee task force against domestic violence; and

(iii) "Utility service provider" means any entity, whether public or private, that provides electricity, natural gas, water, or telephone service to customers on a subscription basis, whether or not regulated by the Tennessee regulatory authority.

(B) If the procedure set out in this subdivision (a)(15) is followed, identifying information compiled and maintained by a utility service provider concerning a person who has obtained a valid protection document shall be treated as confidential and not open for inspection by the public.

(C) For subdivision (a)(15)(B) to be applicable, a copy of the protection document must be presented during regular business hours by the person to whom it was granted to the records custodian of the utility service provider whose records such person seeks to make confidential, and such person must request that all identifying information about such person be maintained as confidential.

(D) The protection document must at the time of presentation be in full force and effect. The records custodian may assume that a protection document is in full force and effect if it is on the proper form and if on its face it has not expired.

(E) Upon being presented with a valid protection document, the records custodian shall accept receipt of it and maintain it in a separate file containing in alphabetical order all protection documents presented to such records custodian pursuant to this subdivision (a)(15). Nothing in this subdivision (a)(15) shall be construed as prohibiting a records custodian from maintaining an electronic file of such protection documents provided the records custodian retains the original document presented.

(F) Identifying information concerning a person that is maintained as confidential pursuant to this subdivision (a)(15) shall remain confidential until the person who requested such confidentiality notifies in person the records custodian of the appropriate utility service provider that there is no longer a need for such information to remain confidential. A records custodian receiving such notification shall remove the protection document concerning such person from the file maintained pursuant to subdivision (a)(15)(E), and the identifying information about such person shall be treated in the same manner as the identifying information concerning any other customer of the utility. Before removing the protection document and releasing any identifying information, the records custodian of the utility service provider shall require that the person requesting release of the identifying information maintained as confidential produce sufficient identification to satisfy such custodian that that person is the same person as the person to whom the document was originally granted.

(G) After July 1, 1999, if information is requested from a utility service provider about a person other than the requestor and such request is for information that is in whole or in part identifying information, the records custodian of the utility service provider shall check the separate file containing all protection documents that have been presented to such utility. If the person about whom information is being requested has presented a valid protection document to the records custodian in accordance with the procedure set out in this subdivision (a)(15), and has requested that identifying information about such person be maintained as confidential, the records custodian shall redact or refuse to disclose to the requestor any identifying information about such person.

(H) Nothing in this subdivision (a)(15) shall prevent the district attorney general and counsel for the defendant from providing to each other in a pending criminal case, where the constitutional rights of the defendant require it, information which otherwise would be held confidential under this subdivision (a)(15).

(16) (A) As used in this subdivision (a)(16), unless the context otherwise requires:

(i) "Governmental entity" means the state of Tennessee and any county, municipality, city or other political subdivision of the state of Tennessee;

(ii) "Identifying information" means the home and work addresses and telephone numbers, social security number, and any other information that could reasonably be used to locate the whereabouts of an individual;

(iii) "Protection document" means:

(a) An order of protection issued pursuant to title 36, chapter 3, part 6, that has been granted after proper notice and an opportunity to be heard;

(b) A similar order of protection issued by the court of another jurisdiction;

(c) An extension of an ex parte order of protection granted pursuant to SC 36-3-605(a);

(d) A similar extension of an ex parte order of protection granted by a court of competent jurisdiction in another jurisdiction;

(e) A restraining order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting violence against the person to whom it is issued;

(f) A court order protecting the confidentiality of certain information issued upon the request of a district attorney general to a victim or witness in a criminal case, whether pending or completed; and

(g) An affidavit from the director of a rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter certifying that an individual is a victim in need of protection; provided, that such affidavit is on a standardized form to be developed and distributed to such centers and shelters by the Tennessee task force against domestic violence.

(B) If the procedure set out in this subdivision (a)(16) is followed, identifying information compiled and maintained by a governmental entity concerning a person who has obtained a valid protection document may be treated as confidential and may not be open for inspection by the public.

(C) For subdivision (a)(16)(B) to be applicable, a copy of the protection document must be presented during regular business hours by the person to whom it was granted to the records custodian of the governmental entity whose records such person seeks to make confidential, and such person must request that all identifying information about such person be maintained as confidential.

(D) The protection document presented must at the time of presentation be in full force and effect. The records custodian may assume that a protection document is in full force and effect if it is on the proper form and if on its face it has not expired.

(E) Upon being presented with a valid protection document, the record custodian may accept receipt of it. If the records custodian does not accept receipt of such document, the records custodian shall explain to the person presenting the document why receipt cannot be accepted and that the identifying information concerning such person will not be maintained as confidential. If the records custodian does accept receipt of the protection document, such records custodian shall maintain it in a separate file containing in alphabetical order all protection documents presented to such custodian pursuant to this subdivision (a)(16). Nothing in this subdivision (a)(16) shall be construed as prohibiting a records custodian from maintaining an electronic file of such protection documents; provided, that the custodian retains the original document presented.

(F) Identifying information concerning a person that is maintained as confidential pursuant to this subdivision (a)(16) shall remain confidential until the person requesting such confidentiality notifies in person the appropriate records custodian of the governmental entity that there is no longer a need for such information to remain confidential. A records custodian receiving such notification shall remove the protection document concerning such person from the file maintained pursuant to subdivision (a)(16)(E), and the identifying information about such person shall be treated in the same manner as identifying information maintained by the governmental entity about other persons. Before removing the protection document and releasing any identifying information, the records custodian of the governmental entity shall require that the person requesting release of the identifying information maintained as confidential produce sufficient identification to satisfy such records custodian that that person is the same person as the person to whom the document was originally granted.
(G) (i) After July 1, 1999, if:

(a) Information is requested from a governmental entity about a person other than the person making the request;

(b) Such request is for information that is in whole or in part identifying information; and

(c) The records custodian of the governmental entity to whom the request was made accepts receipt of protection documents and maintains identifying information as confidential;

(ii) then such records custodian shall check the separate file containing all protection documents that have been presented to such entity. If the person about whom information is being requested has presented a valid protection document to the records custodian in accordance with the procedure set out in this subdivision (a)(16), and has requested that identifying information about such person be maintained as confidential, the records custodian shall redact or refuse to disclose to the requestor any identifying information about such person.

(H) Nothing in this subdivision (a)(16) shall prevent the district attorney general and counsel for the defendant from providing to each other in a pending criminal case, where the constitutional rights of the defendant require it, information which otherwise may be held confidential under this subdivision (a)(16).

(I) In an order of protection case, any document required for filing, other than the forms promulgated by the supreme court pursuant to SC 36-3-604(b), shall be treated as confidential and kept under seal except that the clerk may transmit any such document to the Tennessee bureau of investigation, 911 service or emergency response agency or other law enforcement agency.

(17) The telephone number, address and any other information which could be used to locate the whereabouts of a domestic violence shelter, family safety center or rape crisis center may be treated as confidential by a governmental entity, and shall be treated as confidential by a utility service provider as defined in subdivision (a)(15) upon the director of the shelter, family safety center or crisis center giving written notice to the records custodian of the appropriate entity or utility that such shelter, family safety center or crisis center desires that such identifying information be maintained as confidential. The records of family safety centers shall be treated as confidential in the same manner as the records of domestic violence shelters pursuant to SC 36-3-623.

(18) Computer programs, software, software manuals, and other types of information manufactured or marketed by persons or entities under legal right and sold, licensed, or donated to Tennessee state boards, agencies, political subdivisions, or higher education institutions shall not be open to public inspection; provided, that computer programs, software, software manuals, and other types of information produced by state or higher education employees at state expense shall be available for inspection as part of an audit or legislative review process.

(19) The credit card numbers of persons doing business with the state or political subdivision thereof and any related personal identification numbers (PIN) or authorization codes are confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public, whether this information is received by the state or political subdivision thereof through electronic means or paper transactions.

(20) (A) For the purposes of this subdivision (a)(20), the following terms shall have the following meaning:

(i) "Consumer" means any person, partnership, limited partnership, corporation, professional corporation, limited liability company, trust, or any other entity, or any user of a utility service;

(ii) "Municipal" and "municipality" means a county, metropolitan government, incorporated city, town of the state, or utility district as created in title 7, chapter 82;

(iii) "Private records" means a credit card number, social security number, tax identification number, financial institution account number, burglar alarm codes, security codes, access codes, and consumer specific energy usage data except for aggregate monthly billing information; and

(iv) "Utility" includes any public electric generation system, electric distribution system, water storage or processing system, water distribution system, gas storage system or facilities related thereto, gas distribution system, wastewater system, telecommunications system, or any services similar to any of the foregoing.

(B) The private records of any utility shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public.

(C) Information made confidential by this subsection (a) shall be redacted wherever possible and nothing in this subsection (a) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, document, or data file contains confidential information. For purposes of this section only, it shall be presumed that redaction of such information is possible. The entity requesting the records shall pay all reasonable costs associated with redaction of materials.

(D) Nothing in this subsection (a) shall be construed to limit access to these records by law enforcement agencies, courts, or other governmental agencies performing official functions.

(E) Nothing in this subsection (a) shall be construed to limit access to information made confidential under this subsection (a), when the consumer expressly authorizes the release of such information.

(21) (A) The following records shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for public inspection:

(i) Records that would allow a person to identify areas of structural or operational vulnerability of a utility service provider or that would permit unlawful disruption to, or interference with, the services provided by a utility service provider;

(ii) All contingency plans of a governmental entity prepared to respond to or prevent any violent incident, bomb threat, ongoing act of violence at a school or business, ongoing act of violence at a place of public gathering, threat involving a weapon of mass destruction, or terrorist incident.

(B) Documents concerning the cost of governmental utility property, the cost of protecting governmental utility property, the cost of identifying areas of structural or operational vulnerability of a governmental utility, the cost of developing contingency plans for a governmental entity, and the identity of vendors providing goods or services to a governmental entity in connection with the foregoing shall not be confidential. However, any documents relating to these subjects shall not be made available to the public unless information that is confidential under this subsection (a) or any other provision of this chapter has been redacted or deleted from the documents.

(C) As used in this subdivision (a)(21):

(i) "Governmental entity" means the state of Tennessee or any county, municipality, city or other political subdivision of the state of Tennessee;

(ii) "Governmental utility" means a utility service provider that is also a governmental entity; and

(iii) "Utility service provider" means any entity, whether public or private, that provides electric, gas, water, sewer or telephone service, or any combination of the foregoing, to citizens of the state of Tennessee, whether or not regulated by the Tennessee regulatory authority.

(D) Nothing in this subdivision (a)(21) shall be construed to limit access to these records by other governmental agencies performing official functions or to preclude any governmental agency from allowing public access to these records in the course of performing official functions.

(22) The following records shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for public inspection:

(A) The audit working papers of the comptroller of the treasury and state, county and local government internal audit staffs conducting audits as authorized by SC 4-3-304. For purposes of this subdivision (a)(22) "audit working papers" includes, but is not limited to, auditee records, intra-agency and interagency communications, draft reports, schedules, notes, memoranda and all other records relating to an audit or investigation; and

(B) All information and records received or generated by the comptroller of the treasury containing allegations of unlawful conduct or fraud, waste or abuse.

(23) All records containing the results of individual teacher evaluations administered pursuant to the policies, guidelines, and criteria adopted by the state board of education under SC 49-1-302 shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to the public. Nothing in this subdivision (a)(23) shall be construed to prevent the LEA, public charter school, state board of education, or department of education from accessing and utilizing such records as required to fulfill their lawful functions.

(b) Any record designated "confidential" shall be so treated by agencies in the maintenance, storage and disposition of such confidential records. These records shall be destroyed in such a manner that they cannot be read, interpreted or reconstructed. The destruction shall be in accordance with an approved records disposition authorization from the public records commission.
(c) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any confidential public record in existence more than seventy (70) years shall be open for public inspection by any person unless disclosure of the record is specifically prohibited or restricted by federal law or unless the record is a record of services for a person for mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities. This section does not apply to a record concerning an adoption or a record maintained by the office of vital records or by the Tennessee bureau of investigation. For the purpose of providing an orderly schedule of availability for access to such confidential public records for public inspection, all records created and designated as confidential prior to January 1, 1901, shall be open for public inspection on January 1, 1985. All other public records created and designated as confidential after January 1, 1901 and which are seventy (70) years of age on January 1, 1985, shall be open for public inspection on January 1, 1986; thereafter all such records shall be open for public inspection pursuant to this part after seventy (70) years from the creation date of such records.

(d) Records of any employee's identity, diagnosis, treatment, or referral for treatment that are maintained by any state or local government employee assistance program shall be confidential; provided, that any such records are maintained separately from personnel and other records regarding such employee that are open for inspection. For purposes of this subsection (d), "employee assistance program" means any program that provides counseling, problem identification, intervention, assessment, or referral for appropriate diagnosis and treatment, and follow-up services to assist employees of such state or local governmental entity who are impaired by personal concerns including, but not limited to, health, marital, family, financial, alcohol, drug, legal, emotional, stress or other personal concerns which may adversely affect employee job performance.

(e) Unpublished telephone numbers in the possession of emergency communications districts created pursuant to title 7, chapter 86, or the emergency communications board created pursuant to SC 7-86-302 or its designated agent shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public until such time as any provision of the service contract between the telephone service provider and the consumer providing otherwise is effectuated; provided, that addresses held with such unpublished telephone numbers, or addresses otherwise collected or compiled, and in the possession of emergency communications districts created pursuant to title 7, part 86, or the emergency communications board created pursuant to SC 7-86-302 or its designated agent shall be made available upon written request to any county election commission for the purpose of compiling a voter mailing list for a respective county.

(f) (1) The following records or information of any state, county, municipal or other public employee or former employee, or applicant to such position, or of any law enforcement officer commissioned pursuant to SC 49-7-118, in the possession of a governmental entity or any person in its capacity as an employer shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public:

(A) Home telephone and personal cell phone numbers;

(B) Bank account and individual health savings account, retirement account and pension account information; provided, that nothing shall limit access to financial records of a governmental employer that show the amounts and sources of contributions to the accounts or the amount of pension or retirement benefits provided to the employee or former employee by the governmental employer;

(C) Social security number;

(D) (i) Residential information, including the street address, city, state and zip code, for any state employee; and

(ii) Residential street address for any county, municipal or other public employee;

(E) Driver license information except where driving or operating a vehicle is part of the employee's job description or job duties or incidental to the performance of the employee's job;

(F) The information listed in subdivisions (f)(1)(A)-(E) of immediate family members, whether or not the immediate family member resides with the employee, or household members;

(G) Emergency contact information, except for that information open to public inspection in accordance with subdivision (f)(1)(D)(ii); and

(H) Personal, nongovernment issued, email address.

(2) Information made confidential by this subsection (f) shall be redacted wherever possible and nothing in this subsection (f) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, a document, or data file contains confidential information.

(3) Nothing in this subsection (f) shall be construed to limit access to these records by law enforcement agencies, courts, or other governmental agencies performing official functions.

(4) Nothing in this subsection (f) shall be construed to close any personnel records of public officers which are currently open under state law.

(5) Nothing in this subsection (f) shall be construed to limit access to information made confidential under this subsection (f), when the employee expressly authorizes the release of such information.

(g) (1) (A) (i) All law enforcement personnel information in the possession of any entity or agency in its capacity as an employer, including officers commissioned pursuant to SC 49-7-118, shall be open for inspection as provided in SC 10-7-503(a), except personal information shall be redacted where there is a reason not to disclose as determined by the chief law enforcement officer or the chief law enforcement officer's designee.

(ii) When a request to inspect includes personal information and the request is for a professional, business, or official purpose, the chief law enforcement officer or custodian shall consider the specific circumstances to determine whether there is a reason not to disclose and shall release all information, except information made confidential in subsection (f), if there is not such a reason. In all other circumstances, the officer shall be notified prior to disclosure of the personal information and shall be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and oppose the release of the information. Nothing in this subdivision (g)(1) shall be construed to limit the requestor's right to judicial review set out in SC 10-7-505.

(iii) The chief law enforcement officer shall reserve the right to segregate information that could be used to identify or to locate an officer designated as working undercover.

(B) In addition to the requirements of SC 10-7-503(c), the request for a professional, business, or official purpose shall include the person's business address, business telephone number and email address. The request may be made on official or business letterhead and the person making the request shall provide the name and contact number or email address for a supervisor for verification purposes.

(C) If the chief law enforcement official, the chief law enforcement official's designee, or the custodian of the information decides to withhold personal information, a specific reason shall be given to the requestor in writing within two (2) business days, and the file shall be released with the personal information redacted.

(D) For purposes of this subsection (g), personal information shall include the officer's residential address, home and personal cellular telephone number; place of employment; name, work address and telephone numbers of the officer's immediate family; name, location, and telephone number of any educational institution or daycare provider where the officer's spouse or child is enrolled.

(2) Nothing in this subsection (g) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, a document, or data file contains some information made confidential by subdivision (g)(1).

(3) Nothing in this subsection (g) shall be construed to limit access to these records by law enforcement agencies, courts, or other governmental agencies performing official functions.

(4) Except as provided in subdivision (g)(1), nothing in this subsection (g) shall be construed to close personnel records of public officers, which are currently open under state law.

(5) Nothing in this subsection (g) shall be construed to limit access to information made confidential by subdivision (g)(1), when the employee expressly authorizes the release of such information.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, those parts of the record identifying an individual or entity as a person or entity who or that has been or may in the future be directly involved in the process of executing a sentence of death shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open to public inspection. For the purposes of this section "person or entity" includes, but is not limited to, an employee of the state who has training related to direct involvement in the process of executing a sentence of death, a contractor or employee of a contractor, a volunteer who has direct involvement in the process of executing a sentence of death, or a person or entity involved in the procurement or provision of chemicals, equipment, supplies and other items for use in carrying out a sentence of death. Records made confidential by this section include, but are not limited to, records related to remuneration to a person or entity in connection with such person's or entity's participation in or preparation for the execution of a sentence of death. Such payments shall be made in accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the commissioner of correction and the commissioner of finance and administration in a manner that will protect the public identity of the recipients; provided, that, if a contractor is employed to participate in or prepare for the execution of a sentence of death, the amount of the special payment made to such contractor pursuant to the contract shall be reported by the commissioner of correction to the comptroller of the treasury and such amount shall be a public record.

(2) Information made confidential by this subsection (h) shall be redacted wherever possible and nothing in this subsection (h) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, a document, or data file contains confidential information.

(i) (1) Information that would allow a person to obtain unauthorized access to confidential information or to government property shall be maintained as confidential. For the purpose of this section, "government property" includes electronic information processing systems, telecommunication systems, or other communications systems of a governmental entity subject to this chapter. For the purpose of this section, "governmental entity" means the state of Tennessee and any county, municipality, city or other political subdivision of the state of Tennessee. Such records include:

(A) Plans, security codes, passwords, combinations, or computer programs used to protect electronic information and government property;

(B) Information that would identify those areas of structural or operational vulnerability that would permit unlawful disruption to, or interference with, the services provided by a governmental entity; and

(C) Information that could be used to disrupt, interfere with, or gain unauthorized access to electronic information or government property.

(2) Information made confidential by this subsection (i) shall be redacted wherever possible and nothing in this subsection (i) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, document, or data file contains confidential information.

(3) Documents concerning the cost of protecting government property or electronic information, and the identity of vendors providing goods and services used to protect government property or electronic information shall not be confidential.

(j) (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, identifying information compiled and maintained by the department of correction and the board of parole concerning any person shall be confidential when the person has been notified or requested that notification be provided to the person regarding the status of criminal proceedings or of a convicted felon incarcerated in a department of correction institution, county jail or workhouse or under state supervised probation or parole pursuant to SC 40-28-505, SC 40-38-103, SC 40-38-110, SC 40-38-111, SC 41-21-240 or SC 41-21-242.

(2) For purposes of subdivision (j)(1), "identifying information" means the name, home and work addresses, telephone numbers and social security number of the person being notified or requesting that notification be provided.

(k) The following information regarding victims who apply for compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act, compiled in title 29, chapter 13, shall be treated as confidential and shall not be open for inspection by members of the public:

(1) Residential information, including the street address, city, state and zip code;

(2) Home telephone and personal cell phone numbers;

(3) Social security number; and

(4) The criminal offense from which the victim is receiving compensation.

(l) (1) All applications, certificates, records, reports, legal documents and petitions made or information received pursuant to title 37 that directly or indirectly identifies a child or family receiving services from the department of children's services or that identifies the person who made a report of harm pursuant to SC 37-1-403 or SC 37-1-605 shall be confidential and shall not be open for public inspection, except as provided by SCSC 37-1-131, 37-1-409, 37-1-612, 37-5-107 and 49-6-3051.

(2) The information made confidential pursuant to subdivision (l)(1) includes information contained in applications, certifications, records, reports, legal documents and petitions in the possession of not only the department of children's services but any state or local agency, including, but not limited to, law enforcement and the department of education.

(m) (1) Information and records that are directly related to the security of any government building shall be maintained as confidential and shall not be open to public inspection. For purposes of this subsection (m), "government building" means any building that is owned, leased or controlled, in whole or in part, by the state of Tennessee or any county, municipality, city or other political subdivision of the state of Tennessee. Such information and records include, but are not limited to:

(A) Information and records about alarm and security systems used at the government building, including codes, passwords, wiring diagrams, plans and security procedures and protocols related to the security systems;

(B) Security plans, including security-related contingency planning and emergency response plans;

(C) Assessments of security vulnerability;

(D) Information and records that would identify those areas of structural or operational vulnerability that would permit unlawful disruption to, or interference with, the services provided by a governmental entity; and

(E) Surveillance recordings, whether recorded to audio or visual format, or both, except segments of the recordings may be made public when they include an act or incident involving public safety or security or possible criminal activity. In addition, if the recordings are relevant to a civil action or criminal prosecution, then the recordings may be released in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court of record in accordance with the Tennessee rules of civil or criminal procedure. The court or administrative judge having jurisdiction over the proceedings shall issue appropriate protective orders, when necessary, to ensure that the information is disclosed only to appropriate persons. Release of any segment or segments of the recordings shall not be construed as waiving the confidentiality of the remaining segments of the audio or visual tape.
(2) Information made confidential by this subsection (m) shall be redacted wherever possible and nothing in this subsection (m) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file or document contains confidential information.

(n) (1) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the following documents submitted to the state in response to a request for proposal or other procurement method shall remain confidential after completion of the evaluation period:

(A) Discount, rebate, pricing or other financial arrangements at the individual drug level between pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmaceutical wholesalers/distributors, and pharmacy benefits managers, as defined in SC 56-7-3102, that a proposer:

(i) Submits to the state in response to a request for proposals or other procurement methods for pharmacy-related benefits or services;

(ii) Includes in its cost or price proposal, or provides to the state after the notice of intended award of the contract is issued, where the proposer is the apparent contract awardee; and

(iii) Explicitly marks as confidential and proprietary; and

(B) Discount, rebate, pricing or other financial arrangements at the individual provider level between health care providers and health insurance entities, as defined in SC 56-7-109, insurers, insurance arrangements and third party administrators that a proposer:

(i) Submits to the state in response to a request for proposals or other procurement method after the notice of intended award of the contract is issued, where the proposer is the apparent contract awardee, in response to a request by the state for additional information; and

(ii) Explicitly marks as confidential and proprietary.

(2) (A) Information made confidential by subdivision (n)(1) shall be redacted wherever possible; and nothing contained in this subsection (n) shall be used to limit or deny access to otherwise public information because a file, document, or data file contains confidential information. The confidentiality established by subdivision (n)(1)(B) is applicable only to information submitted to the state after completion of the evaluation period; and provision of the notice of intended award of the contract and such information shall only be used to validate the accuracy of the apparent contract awardee's proposal and shall not be used to alter the scope of the information required by the state's procurement document requesting proposals. Any report produced by the state, or on the state's behalf, utilizing the information made confidential by subdivision (n)(1)(B) shall not be considered confidential hereunder so long as such report is disclosed in an aggregate or summary format without disclosing discount, rebate, pricing or other financial arrangements at the individual provider level.

(B) The comptroller of the treasury, for the purpose of conducting audits or program evaluations, shall have access to the discount, rebate, pricing and descriptions of other financial arrangements cited in this subsection (n) as submitted in a procurement or as a report to the contractor; provided, however, that no official, employee or agent of the state of Tennessee may release or provide for the release, in any form, of information subject to confidential custody under this subsection (n).

(o) (1) Except as provided in subdivisions (o)(2)-(4), the following information and records are confidential, not open or available for public inspection and shall not be released in any manner:

(A) All information contained in any application for a handgun carry permit issued pursuant to SC 39-17-1351, a permit renewal application, or contained in any materials required to be submitted in order to obtain such a permit;

(B) All information provided to any state or federal agency, to any county, municipality, or other political subdivision, to any official, agent, or employee of any state or federal agency, or obtained by any state or federal agency in the course of its investigation of an applicant for a handgun carry permit; and

(C) Any and all records maintained relative to an application for a handgun carry permit issued pursuant to SC 39-17-1351, a permit renewal application, the issuance, renewal, expiration, suspension, or revocation of a handgun carry permit, or the result of any criminal history record check conducted under this part.

(2) Any information or other records regarding an applicant or permit holder may be released to a law enforcement agency for the purpose of conducting an investigation or prosecution, or for determining the validity of a handgun carry permit, or to a child support enforcement agency for purposes of child support enforcement, but shall not be publicly disclosed except as evidence in a criminal or child support enforcement proceeding.

(3) Any person or entity may request the department of safety to search its handgun permit holder database to determine if a named person has a Tennessee handgun carry permit, as of the date of the request, if the person or entity presents with the request a judgment of conviction, criminal history report, order of protection, or other official government document or record that indicates the named person is not eligible to possess a handgun carry permit under the requirements of SC 39-17-1351.

(4) Nothing in this subsection (o) shall prohibit release of the handgun carry permit statistical reports authorized by SC 39-17-1351(s).

History: Acts 1957, ch. 285, SC 2; 1970, ch. 531, SCSC 1, 2; 1973, ch. 99, SC 1; 1975, ch. 127, SC 1; 1976, ch. 552, SC 1; 1976, ch. 777, SC 1; 1977, ch. 152, SC 3; 1978, ch. 544, SC 1; 1978, ch. 890, SC 2; T.C.A., SC 15-305; Acts 1983, ch. 211, SC 1; 1984, ch. 947, SC 2; 1985, ch. 421, SCSC 1-4; 1985 (1st Ex. Sess.), ch. 5, SC 29; 1987, ch. 118, SC 2; 1987, ch. 337, SC 20; 1988, ch. 783, SC 1; 1988, ch. 894, SC 2; 1989, ch. 75, SC 1; 1989, ch. 278, SC 27; 1990, ch. 888, SC 1; 1991, ch. 129, SC 1; 1992, ch. 823, SC 1; 1996, ch. 724, SC 1; 1996, ch. 745, SC 16; 1996, ch. 1079, SC 29; 1997, ch. 84, SC 1; 1997, ch. 290, SC 1; 1997, ch. 292, SC 1; 1998, ch. 1075, SC 1; 1999, ch. 176, SCSC 1, 2; 1999, ch. 199, SC 1; 1999, ch. 344, SCSC 1, 2, 4; 1999, ch. 514, SC 2; 2000, ch. 562, SC 1; 2000, ch. 783, SC 10; 2001, ch. 259, SCSC 1, 2; 2002, ch. 730, SC 53; 2002, ch. 769, SC 1; 2002, ch. 819, SC 1; 2002, ch. 849, SC 12; 2003, ch. 105, SC 1; 2003, ch. 201, SC 1; 2003, ch. 295, SC 1; 2004, ch. 434, SC 1; 2004, ch. 673, SC 21; 2005, ch. 47, SC 1; 2005, ch. 474, SC 6; 2006, ch. 665, SC 1; 2007, ch. 178, SC 1; 2007, ch. 425, SCSC 2, 3; 2008, ch. 853, SCSC 1-3; 2008, ch. 1011, SC 3; 2009, ch. 176, SC 1; 2009, ch. 310, SCSC 1, 2; 2009, ch. 328, SC 1; 2009, ch. 358, SC 1; 2009, ch. 368, SC 5; 2009, ch. 567, SC 1; 2010, ch. 710, SC 1; 2011, ch. 151, SC 3; 2011, ch. 158, SC 6; 2012, ch. 577, SC 1; 2012, ch. 648, SC 1; 2012, ch. 798, SC 5; 2012, ch. 811, SC 1; 2012, ch. 848, SC 6; 2012, ch. 877, SC 1; 2012, ch. 1082, SC 1; 2013, ch. 15, SC 1; 2013, ch. 229, SCSC 1-5; 2013, ch. 284, SC 1; 2013, ch. 314, SC 1.