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Attorney general approves proposed amendment regarding FOIA


Another day in Arkansas, another ballot measure has been approved by the attorney general. Tim Griffin has approved a proposed amendment regarding the Freedom of Information Act. This comes just a day after Arkansas Citizens for Transparency filed suit against the attorney general for refusing to certify the language of their title. The group has submitted both a proposed amendment to the constitution and an initiated act. The lawsuit is regarding the latter. David Couch is an attorney and member of A-C-T, he said they will begin collecting signatures for the proposed amendment but they’ll likely follow through on the lawsuit for now.

"It's not moot. It's still alive because, you know, each submission is something that, you know, belongs to the people. And so it's different than the third. The second is different than the third. So you know, we'll have to balance the protecting the principle and protecting the preferred measure versus practicality over the weekend."

Over the weekend, Attorney General Griffin was a guest on Capitol View, where he said quote “When reviewing proposed ballot initiatives, I follow an 80-year-old process. The law does not allow me to consider my own personal views. I am guided by the law and the law alone. I routinely certify proposals I personally oppose. Conversely, I routinely reject proposals I personally support.” Couch said he’s not surprised by that response.

"That's what he is supposed to do. But in practice, that's not what he actually has done. You're right. The Attorney General has a very limited role in this process, and then. You can look at the rejection letters from us, and he specifically says your text of the amendment is wrong, and he required us to rewrite the text of the amendment. So you know, that's a great, wonderful sounding soundbite, but it's just not what he actually did in practice."

This proposed amendment is now the third one that Griffin has approved. The group can now begin collecting signatures for the final process to get the measure on the ballot this November.

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Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
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