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Citizen-initiated government transparency act proposal submitted to Arkansas Attorney General

The proposed act is a companion to a constitutional amendment draft submitted last week; both would broaden access public meetings and government records Arkansas government transparency advocates proposed a ballot measure on Monday that would define a public meeting and create a special body to help citizens denied access to public records.   Arkansas Citizens for…

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Gov. Sanders’ attempt to hide records with FOIA reforms joins father’s legacy of government secrecy

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has blinked. Following a long and messy second day that saw dozens of Arkansans testify before the State Agencies Committee in the Senate, Sanders called for both the House and the Senate to limit FOIA reforms to only touch security, backing down from her attempt to shield the executive branch…

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Tidal wave of opposition swamps Arkansas governor’s FOIA battleship

UPDATE: Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester late Monday night introduced a new version of the bill to add exemptions to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. It can be read here. Proposed new exemptions to Arkansas’ Freedom of Information Act drew strong opposition across the political spectrum over the weekend, forcing legislative leaders to scramble…

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Arkansas FOIA Task Force unanimously rejects Sanders’ FOIA changes

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Task Force voted unanimously Monday to reject Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ attempted "reforms" of the state’s sunshine laws. The task force, which was created by Act 932 of the Arkansas General Assembly in 2017, was formed to advise lawmakers on proposals that would affect the state's Freedom of Information…

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Attorney General Griffin announces creation of FOIA review working group

Attorney General Tim Griffin today issued the following statement announcing the creation of his Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Review Working Group and its members: “The last time FOIA was modernized, the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Since then, the use of digital records and new communications technology has increased exponentially, making it possible…

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Chester claims school board did not illegally discuss business in video, later retracts

Mountain Home Public School Board Member Bob Chester has become the first school board member to release a public statement following the exposure of the school board’s secret group chat and FOIA violation. In a roughly 30 minute long video posted to YouTube Wednesday night, Chester denied that the school board had discussed policy in…

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Superintendent Long admits to secret school board chat group, texts regularly deleted

Mountain Home School District Superintendent Jake Long has confessed to operating a secret group chat between himself and members of the Mountain Home School Board following the Observer’s discovery of the group chat during an investigation into text message communications uncovered by a local resident's watch dog group. The group chat, which was created by…

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