MONTGOMERY — Legislation that would establish deadlines for governments and universities in Alabama to respond to public records requests submitted by citizens passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday.

Under the bill by State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), a government or university employee has to acknowledge a standard request within 10 business days of receiving the request.

The public officer shall provide a substantive response fulfilling or denying a standard request within 15 business days of acknowledging receipt.

The public officer may extend this period in 15-business-day increments upon written notice to the requester.

Multiple studies have ranked Alabama's current state laws on public records requests as some of the worst in the country. 

"This has been a long time coming. Right now under current law, it's the wild west. We don't have timelines for governments or universities to respond in due time," Orr said on Thursday.

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