FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Two bills move forward that could change a law meant to increase government transparency and accountability. The state house and senate both passed identical bills that would alter the Freedom of Information Act.
Around noon Wednesday, the Senate advanced its Senate Bill 10. Shortly before an identical bill in the House advanced through the committee.
This version of the bill is scaled back from what was originally proposed at the start of the session, but it will still limit the public’s access to information about the governor’s security. House committee members said Wednesday that they agree the governor’s safety is important.
Four people spoke during public comments on Wednesday. Scott Gray is one of them. He felt the changes made to this new version of the bill showed the public was heard.
“We appreciate that we had serious reservations about the initial bills, but we’re pleased to support this compromise. We thank you all for listening to your constituents concerns. And we do appreciate the process,” said Gray.
Nicole Clowney is the Democratic State Representative for District 86. She says the bill is still too broad.
“I think it protects things that are ultimately not directly impacted and not directly related to security. So while I want this governor and every future governor protected, I think this bill goes a little bit too far in terms of taking rights away from our Arkansans. So I can’t quite get there,” said Clowney.
The House Committee gave the bill a “do pass” recommendation. The full House will now have a chance to vote on the bill. It is set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning on both the FOIA changes and tax cuts.