The Arkansas Legislative Session continues
Arkansas Legislature’s special session moves forward
The Arkansas Legislature’s special session continues today. Yesterday, a legislative committee heard public comment over a bill to alter the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. Senate Bill 9 would bar the public from having access to the governor’s security details and correspondence with cabinet officials. It would also shield the public from accessing documents prepared by prosecutors for litigation. If the bill becomes law, citizens will not be able to recoup legal fees in FOIA cases.
Republican Sen. Bart Hester presented the bill to the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committee yesterday, saying it would make state government more efficient and prevent people from abusing FOIA laws. Democratic Sen. Clarke Tucker of Little Rock questioned him over the bill’s intended purpose.
Sen. Clarke Tucker: “You said since 2021, we’ve seen attempts to abuse that. Right?”
Sen. Bart Hester: “That’s correct.”
Tucker: “Are there actual abuses or attempts to abuse?”
Hester: “I think I’m familiar with attempts to abuse. Many, many attempts to abuse.”
Tucker: “So we’re changing laws based on unsuccessful attempts to abuse?”
Tucker said the language in the bill was too broad. Eventually, a third bill was drafted and filed last night. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders and 25 Republican state senators have co-sponsored SB10, which focuses solely on exempting records around the governor and other executive officers’ travel expenses. Senator Bart Hester says the senate heard the concerns of Arkansans as far as making changes to the FOIA law.
“The security of our governor and her family should be the top priority for us," Hester said. "Senate Bill 10 focuses on protecting the security details of our governor and her small children.”
An emergency clause to immediately enact this law and a retroactivity clause dating back to June 1, 2022 is still in this bill as well.
Better Business Bureau Education Foundation hosts NWA conference
The Better Business Bureau Education Foundation is hosting a day-long event on Mount Sequoyah this Friday. Tina Hunter is the director of the Arkansas division, and she said the event is designed for business leaders and entrepreneurs to grow in their knowledge of a wide range of topics around navigating the future of business.
“We’re going to bring together not only folks around cybersecurity, we’re also bringing in bankers, secret service, and the FBI," Hunter said. "We’re going to bring in some insurance folks, some legal experts and then we’re going to talk about branding and human resources as well.”
Hunter said a big takeaway from the event will be learning how to adapt to emerging trends.
“What does AI mean for your business moving forward, and have you been using AI and didn’t really realize it? What are some strategies to keep your information safe? Because the landscape is changing continuously,” she said.
The event begins at 9 a.m. Friday morning.
Ricky Skaggs heads to Fort Smith
15-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs will perform at Temple Live in Fort Smith in early December. The venue announced this morning he’ll be there December 2nd with his band Kentucky Thunder. Before Skaggs’ solo career began in the 1980s, he was a member of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys and played mandolin on stage alongside Bill Monore at age six. Tickets for the concert go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on their website.
NWA Naturals face off against the Travelers
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals started their final homestand of the season yesterday, splitting a doubleheader with Arkansas Travelers. The series continues through Sunday with the Travelers.