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Arkansas transparency legislation

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This is a Sunshine Review page which highlighted transparency legislation proposed in Arkansas.



Noelection.png The Arkansas legislature either did not have a session or had a fiscal session in 2010.


See also: Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

House Bill 1049[1] is one of several bills proposed by Rep. Dan Greenberg that are designed to strengthen the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. It provides for review of a FOIA denial by the Attorney Generals' Office.[1] It was referred to the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee in the House in January of 2009 where it remains as of April 2009.[1]

  • House Bill 1050[2] requires new laws that create exemptions to FOIA must identify with specificity which records or meetings the law exempts. Rep. Greenberg said, “This is kind of a blinking red light, so that from now on when somebody tries to narrow the FOI, at least we’ll know”.[3] After failing to pass the House initially, Rep. Greenberg credits the further explanation he gave House members on the bill's passage on January 27, 2009.[4]

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee endorsed HB 1050, and proceeded to the Senate for a vote.[5] HB 1050 passed the Senate 33-2, and is now waiting for approval by Gov. Mike Beebe, whose office has stated that he plans to sign it into law.[6]

  • House Bill 1051[7], would allow access to criminal records for certain individuals. It was defeated 56-33, and a request by the sponsor to return the bill to committee was refused.[8]
  • House Bill 1052,[9] would prohibit retaliation against government employees that file FOIA requests.[3] It was passed in the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's approval.[9]
  • House Bill 1053[10], known as "The Open Checkbooks in Government Act," would create an online database of state expenditures. It was referred to the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee in the House.[10]
  • House Bill 1091[11] seeks to broaden the reasons for which a school board may go into executive session. It was passed in the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor's approval.[11]
  • House Bill 1326[12][13], sponsored by Rep. Lindsley Smith (D-Fayetteville), is a revised version of a bill that failed to pass in 2007. HB 1326 would allow FOIA plaintiffs that file claims with the Arkansas State Claims Commission to recover attorney fees in successful cases.[14] HB1326 has been approved by a House committee and now heads to the House as a whole.[15] It was passed in the House and Senate and is with the Governor for his approval.[12]
  • House Bill 1623[16] seeks to prevent the disclosure of information regarding concealed weapon carry licenses. It passed the House Judiciary Committee and moved to the House, where 54 members signed on as co-sponsors.[17] HB1623 has passed the House 98-1.[18] It passed the Senate 34-0 and returned to the House for concurrence on an amendment.[19] It has since been sent to the Governor for approval.[16]
  • House Bill 2091[20] seeks to establish transparency in the bidding process for publicly funded buildings, infrastructure and facilities. It was introduced in March of 2009.[20]
  • Senate Bill 55[21] seeks to increase transparency related to the salary of administrators in state funded higher education institutions. It was pass in both houses and is awaiting the Governor's approval.[21]
  • Senate Bill 943[24] seeks to improve parents' access to public school data on achievement gaps and on public school plans to close achievement gaps. The bill was passed in the House and Senate and awaits the Governor's signature.[24]