Reporter Bryan Dean wanted Ed Martin’s DOB in order to differentiate him from any other Ed Martin. The city cited two exemptions to the state’s Open Records Act in denying Dean’s request. A short time later, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said the city should supply dates of birth because there was no specific exemption allowing them to be kept confidential.
Then Edmondson backtracked in a formal opinion that left it up to agencies to determine whether dates of birth should be released. In late December he visited the issue again, this time saying birth dates of public employees are presumed open records. Clarity at last.
Or not. Now the Legislature is involved. Last week the state Senate voted 44-0 for a bill that would keep public employees’ dates of birth confidential.
The bill’s author, Sen. Debbe Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City, turned to an old reliable — the fear of identity theft — in selling her bill. Making dates of birth available, Leftwich said, would make it easier for a person to have his or her identity stolen. We could picture other senators, who always pay strict attention to every bill.