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Arkansas PoliticsEthics/Government TransparencyRead

FOIA Exemption Bill Now Limited to Security Issues

By Conduit for Action

Initially Governor Sarah Sanders proposed sweeping exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plan was filed as Senate Bill 4 and House Bill 1003. Conduit for Action opposed the bills as did many others on the right and left, because the bills would have gutted the FOIA, which is known as “The Peoples Law.

Because a significant number of legislators opposed the bills a new version was proposed as SB9 and HB1009. These two bills were slightly better but still bad and would have done much damage to our FOIA. Conduit for Action and many others also opposed the second version. Legislators seemed unmoved by the changes made in the new version and the bills stalled on Tuesday.

Then, Representative Julie Mayberry broke the ice by filing HB1011. Her bill was limited to the main issue which had been cited as a justification for the previous bills, exempting information from disclosure related to the security of the Governor and other officials. Representative Mayberry is unlikely to get credit for the idea because similar bills but not identical to Mayberry’s bill were filed by Senator Bart Hester and Representative David Ray who were also sponsors of the second version of the FOIA bill. Their new bills are SB10 and HB1012.

We are pleased that SB4, SB9, HB1003, and HB1009 appear to be dead.

Conduit for Action is not taking a position on SB10 and HB1012 since their focus is only on security issues. There will continue to be discussions on whether the security exemption should be written more narrowly. We look forward to hearing the discussion.


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