Carroll Pulls Open Records Bill to 'Tighten Focus'
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FRANKFORT - State Senator Danny Carroll says he has decided to pull back a bill he pre-filed last month that could restrict access to some public records, in order to make some adjustments to the proposed legislation.

The bill would exempt several state and local agencies from having to release personal information of public safety officers as part of records requests. Sen. Carroll says the bill is designed to protect those officers from possible retaliation, and he does not want to make changes to the Open Records Act that would have a negative impact on transparency.

Prior to pulling the bill, Carroll told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that he was open to hearing from anyone with concerns about it.

Carroll told West Kentucky Star Wednesday that he now wants to clarify the language in the bill, to make sure it sticks to the intent, which he says is to protect public safety officers.

"Last night I made a decision to go ahead and withdraw the bill today. We're gonna pull it back, take another look at it, and maybe clarify some of the language in the bill to make sure that it sticks strictly to the intent that we had meant for the bill in the beginning, and that's to protect those listed in the bill." Carroll said.

Carroll, a retired Paducah Police Officer, added he did not write the bill, but he was given the proposal by a state Homeland Security employee and a Secret Service Agent working in Kentucky. Some personal information for public safety workers is already protected by law. 

Before Carroll's announcement, several lawyers representing media outlets issued statements opposing the bill's language. Michael Abate, a Louisville attorney who has represented KyCIR and several other media outlets on public records issues, said the bill's current language is a direct attack on transparency in the state.

“It strikes me as an attempt to take off the table extremely important records that media outlets — and the public in general — have used to understand what their agencies have done in their name, and on their dime,” Abate said. “That is the essential purpose of the open records law.”

Published 08:56 AM, Wednesday Jan. 09, 2019
Updated 08:47 AM, Thursday Jan. 10, 2019

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