Legislators Thursday approved a Senate bill intended to improve the state medical examiner's office but that also would restrict public access to autopsy reports because of last-minute language added by Rep. Randy Terrill, reported The Oklahoman this morning.
For details and a link to the story: http://foioklahoma.blogspot.com/2010/05/terrill-sneaks-in-dangerous-and-wrong.html
In response (by Mark Thomas): I read the bill several times. The language has been out there for quite a while. I think Terrill is correct; it only says the ME doesn't have to release partial or incomplete details of an autopsy - even to DA's or Law Enforcement! The language simply looked like statutory construction language and not any attempt to close anything.
The bill also has language that the ME's office will always be independent from any other state agency (not under control of law enforcement) and that they can contract with third party vendors "except OSBI" without the express consent of the legislature.
The ME's office needed a total makeover and this bill was an honest attempt to do that, in my opinion.
Executive Vice President
Oklahoma Press Association