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State worker group seeks to block release of records

BY PAUL MONIES Modified: April 2, 2010 at 6:27 pm •  Published: March 30, 2010
A state employee group has asked an Oklahoma County judge to block the release of the birth dates of state employees after an Open Records Act request by The Oklahoman.

The Oklahoma Public Employees Association filed the motion for a temporary restraining order and temporary injunction Monday against the state’s Office of Personnel Management.

A hearing is set for April 7 before Oklahoma County District Judge Noma D. Gurich.

In its lawsuit, OPEA claims a Feb. 19 Open Records request by The Oklahoman for the names, titles, payroll information and dates of birth of all state employees would put them at risk of identity theft.

The newspaper requested the information as part of an ongoing look into the backgrounds of public employees.

Several agencies, including Oklahoma City Public Schools and the state attorney general’s office, have already provided birthdates of their employees to the newspaper.

The OPEA lawsuit also states the newspaper’s request is a "flagrant attempt to circumvent the legislative process” because of a pending bill before the Legislature, Senate Bill 1753, that would add public employee birth dates to information exempt under the Open Records Act.

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