At the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, we believe in our state’s motto, “Regnat Populus”, meaning “the people rule.” Today, state elected officials attacked our right to know what our government is doing.
We all, as concerned Arkansans, should be raising the red flag now. Please contact your lawmakers to protect the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Arkansas legislators will go into a special session this coming Monday (September 11th) where the Governor has asked them to significantly weaken our FOIA law.
Arkansas has never been exempt from some elected and appointed government officials abusing their power to enrich themselves and help their friends at the expense of the public. Fortunately, Arkansas has long had one of the strongest freedom of information laws in the country. Citizens have used our FOIA law to uncover countless misdeeds, secret deals and grabs for money and power throughout the years.
Not only does our FOIA law help expose these abuses, it’s also one of our most powerful deterrents against rogue government officials running amuck in the first place.
If you are elected, appointed or employed by the public, you know that the public has a right to know what you're doing. Our law already has appropriate exemptions in place to protect the security and personnel matters of our public servants. Freedom of information is vital to democracy. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
Our current Governor and many Arkansas lawmakers want to undermine that by putting many government communications under the veil of state secrets and make it harder for citizens to hold our officials accountable.
“The outcome of this proposal is not hard to imagine. It will lead to greater fraud and abuse of office. It will lead to more secret deals developed in back rooms and sprung on the public at the last minute when it’s too late for the public to have meaningful input,” said Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy Panel’s Executive Director. “It will allow big corporations and the politically connected to collude with government officials for sweetheart deals that undermine citizen’s rights and the free market. Arkansas can only remain the land where people rule when we can see what our government is doing.”
We have to stop this state secrets bill.
You can easily find your state lawmakers and their contact information with the Citizens First Congress’ 2023 Arkansas Legislature Directory: www.citizensfirst.org/2023-arleg-directory.
Contact: Communications Coordinator Ashton Eley 501-940-0997 (text or call) | email@example.com
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