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LRC bill summary
LRC Bill summary

No news is good news. 

The old adage is nowhere truer than in the Kentucky legislature. 

With the exception of the assignment to committees of the two open records bills introduced in Week One of the 2024 Regular Session, there were no other observable developments in Week Two.…

On January 12, HB 80, an act relating to the identification of lottery winners, was assigned to the House Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee. Representative Dan Fister joined the bill's sponsor, Representative  Kim Banta's, as co-sponsor.

Also on January 12, SB 37, an act relating to open records, was assigned to the Senate State & Local Government Committee. Co-sponsored by Senators Adrienne Southworth and Lindsey Tichenor, the bill is an ambitious open records training bill mandating broad application and assigning additional duties to the Kentucky Attorney General. It revises the only existing  training requirements in the law, extending its application as well. The logistical challenges are daunting.

A version of Banta's bill, introduced in the 2023 session, passed by a vote of 94-0 in the House but stalled in the Senate.

A version of Southworth's bill was assigned to, but never heard in, the Senate State & Local Government Committee.

This period of "quiet before the storm" does not rule out the possibility -- nay, the likelihood -- that closed door discussions are currently underway aimed at limiting Kentuckians' right of access to records and meetings in existing statute.…

A recent report in The Tallahassee Democrat is a sad reminder that Kentucky is not alone. The introduction of multiple exemptions each year confirms that the Sunshine State's Sunshine Law is under siege.…

"The problem," says Bobby Block, executive director of the First Amendment Foundation, "is the cumulative impact of these new exemptions." 

It is, says Block, "death by a thousand cuts." A once user-friendly public records law is "now incredibly complicated," encouraging public agencies to err on the side of nondisclosure and discouraging the public from filing records requests. 

What is true in Florida is equally true in Kentucky. 

The 2024 Regular Session of the General Assembly is only two weeks old, but we can ill-afford to look away. 

It is what we are not seeing and hearing -- what is not observable -- that should concern us.…


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