Friday, February 28, 2020

House committee passes bills protecting teacher and student contact info


Rep. Tammy West Passes Bills Addressing Breach  of Teachers’, Children’s Private Information

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tammy West (R-Oklahoma City) passed two bills in committee recently addressing the breach of private information of public employees, including public school teachers, and children.

House Bill 3040 and House Bill 3460 will protect private and personal contact information for current and former public employees and Oklahoma public school students.

“This will keep third parties from being able to mine this sensitive information and capitalize on it,” West said. “This strengthens the language in statute to remove all doubt about how this information is to be protected and kept private.” 

House Bill 3040 shields certain private information, such as home addresses and phone numbers, social security numbers and private email addresses or private mobile phone numbers of current and former public employees from public inspection or disclosure.

House Bill 3460 allows all educational institutions to designate specific student information, such as a student’s name, address, and phone number, as classified directory information. Any educational institution that is not the primary custodian of the directory information, but that can access the directory for educational purposes, is prohibited from releasing or selling the information without written consent of the local school board. The State Board of Education and the State Department of Education are not permitted to designate student information as classified directory information, as stated above, but shall keep personally identifiable student information confidential unless authorized otherwise by federal law.

West said in the last month there have been two concerning breaches of private information. While such actions already are illegal, this legislation helps clarify the law and establishes expectations.

West said the language of the bills was a combined effort of the Oklahoma Public Employee Association, the Oklahoma Press Association and the State Department of Education.

Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond) was a co-principal author of the bills and is chair of the House Government Efficiency Committee where the bills passed.

“Strengthening our privacy laws to protect our citizens’ private information should be one of the highest priorities,” Osburn said. “I was proud to work with Rep. West on this important legislation.”

Both bills are now eligible to be considered by the entire House.

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