Jan 24, 2024 - News

Arkansas AG OKs proposed sunshine law ballot language

Illustration of a manila folder opening like a door.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Attorney General Tim Griffin approved the ballot title and popular name for a proposed constitutional amendment that would strengthen the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Why it matters: The state's Freedom of Information Act protects the public's right to access many government documents. Journalists, interest groups and others frequently use it to hold officials accountable for taxpayers' dollars.

State of play: Griffin's approval is required before ACT can begin to gather roughly 91,000 signatures by July 5 to be included on the November ballot.

  • The group of lawyers, legislators and a representative of the Arkansas Press Association has been trying to get language approved since November; Griffin rejected the language twice before.

Details: The proposal, called the Arkansas Government Openness Amendment, would establish government transparency as a right for citizens and make it more difficult for lawmakers to change the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

  • A two-thirds majority in both chambers would be required for changes if the measure makes it on the ballot and is approved by voters.

What we're watching: Little Rock lawyer David Couch told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the version Griffin approved was "adequate," but that ACT will continue its lawsuit because what Griffin approved "was not our preferred constitutional amendment."

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