New Law – Government Meetings Must Be Recorded

Several good laws were passed by the Arkansas Legislature this year. One of the new laws you may have missed is Act 1028 which requires government meetings to be video recorded or audio recorded. You may have thought that was already required but it wasn’t.

Few people have the time or energy to attend a city council or quorum court meeting, let alone a state agency meeting.  This new law will allow you to hear and perhaps see what happened when an important issue was discussed.

Recording will also help set the record straight when there is a controversy and rumors fly with the story getting bigger and wilder with each retelling.

The legislation includes exceptions for executive sessions, smaller cities (second class cities and incorporated towns), and volunteer fire departments. The law only requires the audio/video to be retained for one year but that is a good start and should cover most requests for information.

To obtain a copy of audio or video of a meeting an Arkansas resident merely has to request a copy from the government agency. With social media, there is also the possibility a friend may post a recording of a big issue on their Facebook page or on some other social media platform.

The sponsor of the legislation was Representative Vivian Flowers (D – Pine Bluff). The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House of Representatives with 87 of 100 votes “For,” There were only two “No” votes.

It had a tougher time in the Senate, but eventually passed with 19 of 35 Senators voting “For.” There were only three “No” votes.

The new law will become effective in about three months.

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