Tennessee Public Record Laws


T.C.A. §§ 10-7-501 et seq.

Exemptions to Disclosure

§ 10-7-504 states that confidential records include:

  • All criminal investigative files of the department of agriculture and the department of environment and conservation;
  • Health certificates, collected and maintained by the state veterinarian;
  • 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, or higher education institutions.
  • Records of historical research value which are given or sold to a public archival institutions, public libraries, or libraries that are part 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. Tenn. Code Ann. § 10-7-504
  • In the course of fulfilling a grant agreement between a public higher education institution and the Tennessee department of economic and community development, the following are not open for public inspection:
    • Patentable material or potentially patentable material
    • Proprietary information
    • Trade secrets or potential trade secrets, including, but not limited to, manufacturing and production methods, processes, materials and associated costs
    • Business transactions, commercial or financial information about or belonging to research subjects or sponsors
    • Summaries or descriptions of sponsored research or service, unless released by the sponsor
    • Any other information that reasonably could affect the conduct or outcome of the sponsored research or service, the ability to patent or copyright the sponsored research or any other proprietary rights any person or entity might have in the research or the results of the research, including, but not limited to, protocols, notes, data, results or other unpublished writing about the research or service.

Access Rights

Any person can request records; “reasonable” cost can be assessed;

Destruction of Public Records

§ 10-7-509 – Disposition of records:

  • (a) The disposition of all state records shall occur only through the process of an approved records disposition authorization.
  • (b) Records authorized for destruction shall be disposed of according to the records disposition authorization and shall not be given to any unauthorized person, transferred to another agency, political subdivision, or private or semiprivate institution.
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