Isn’t transparency supposed to be a good thing? What are Democrats trying to keep the public from seeing here?

Jon Offredo of Delaware Online reported.

Democrats gut university transparency bill

House Democratic leadership on Thursday gutted legislation that would make the state’s land-grant universities more transparent under the state’s open-records laws.

Rep. John Kowalko’s legislation would have forced the University of Delaware and Delaware State University to fully comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Act. But top Democrats introduced an amendment gutting the bill, requiring the universities only to open up documents related to contracts funded with taxpayer dollars. Gov. Jack Markell’s proposed budget includes nearly $165 million for the universities.

“This is not a compromise,” Kowalko, a Newark Democrat, said. “It is a concession.”

University operations funded with public dollars are already open to public inspection under the open-records law. Thursday’s amendment also gives the university new exclusions to keep information private. The amended bill cleared a key House committee on Thursday.

Adam Goldstein, an attorney with the Student Press Law Center, said the amendment is laughable and eviscerates the proposed legislation.

“It does a Texas Chainsaw Massacre on the law,” he said.

The University of Delaware denied 82 percent of the 65 FOIA requests it received since July 2012, saying the requests did not relate to the expenditure of state funds, according to an analysis of the university’s FOIA-tracking log. The university denied a reporter’s request for a copy of its FOIA log this spring, saying it did not relate to the expenditure of state funds. Under FOIA, such logs are required to be maintained by public bodies.

Delaware State University also denied a reporter’s request for their FOIA-tracking log, saying it doesn’t keep one.