Kentucky Governor Vetoes Redaction Bill

April 13, 2021

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on April 8 vetoed a bill that would have would have exempted personally identifiable information of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers from public records.

Beshear called Senate Bill 48 impractical.

“The additional exemption created in Senate Bill 48 for ‘public officers’ is drafted so broadly as to be unworkable in practice. Indeed, as a former Attorney General I could request my office number be redacted in all public records,” Beshear wrote.

According to reports, the measure was originally limited to shielding addresses and locations of public officers, but on the last day of the legislative session it was expanded through a floor amendment filed by Republican Rep. John Blanton.

Redaction is intended to shield the location and other personal information of individuals with recognized safety concerns from being accessible through documents contained in the public land records. While there is a need to shield protected classes with recognized privacy concerns, that need must be addressed in a way that does not hinder the ability complete real estate transactions in a timely fashion.

While various states handle redaction differently, the tragic shooting of Judge Esther Salas’ son brought the issue into the national spotlight. Last July, self-described "anti-feminist" lawyer Roy Den Hollander killed the judge’s 20-year-old son, Daniel Anderl, and injured her husband. Den Hollander compiled personal information about the judge, including her home address in New Jersey. He posed as a FedEx delivery worker to carry out his crime.

In response, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed A1649, known as “Daniel’s Law,” that requires the redaction of home addresses and telephone numbers of judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers from public records.

ALTA’s Redaction Work Group developed frequently asked questions to help promote best practices for record shielding or redaction measures. Ideally, title professionals should maintain access to information needed for a real estate transfer, or at least can utilize permissioned access mechanisms. Other best practices include uniform standards, setting a time limit on shielding with a renewal process, ensuring there is a restoration process available, and making sure that in-person contact is not the only way for authorized parties to gain access to information.

In 2019, ALTA’s Real Property Records Committee finalized a white paper titled “Privacy, Redaction, and Public Land Records,” which provides guidance on the redaction of information in the public land records.

Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or [email protected].