freedom of information act

COMMENTARY

A win for keeping the public in public meetings in Arkansas

BY: - March 16, 2023

Government transparency supporters in Arkansas won a skirmish Wednesday in a long-running battle over the public’s right to know. An Arkansas House committee, on a split voice vote, rejected proposed legislation that defined a public meeting as a quorum of a city, county or school district governing body or other state boards or commissions.  House […]

Republican Rep. Mary Bentley of Perryville (right) listens as attorney and Transparency in Government Group member Joey McCutchen answers a question from a member of the Arkansas House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday, March 15, 2023. (Screenshot from meeting video)

Arkansas House committee votes down bill to loosen public meetings law

BY: - March 15, 2023

EDITORS’ NOTE: Advocate Editor Sonny Albarado testified against House Bill 1610 during the March 15, 2023, meeting of the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs in his capacity as a member of the Arkansas Freedom of Information Coalition. A panel of state representatives rebuffed an attempt on Wednesday to allow members of local […]

COMMENTARY

Gutting Arkansas’ open meetings law

BY: - March 14, 2023

I spoke too soon. Yesterday, I published a hopeful opinion piece about legislation that, if passed, would enhance the public’s right to know enshrined in Arkansas’ 56-year-old Freedom of Information Act. One of those bills, Senate Bill 382, would define what a public meeting is. As I noted in Monday’s column, the FOIA doesn’t specify […]

COMMENTARY

Sunshine breaks through? Three bills cast a ray of hope

BY: - March 13, 2023

Just in time for Sunshine Week come several bills affecting Arkansas’ landmark Freedom of Information Act.  Usually, legislative proposals involving the FOIA seek to remove more records or government activity from public scrutiny, not make things more transparent. In fact, a couple such bills have been filed in the current session. But I’d like to […]