Sen. Carroll really watered down his Open Records bill

But it’s just a ploy or part of the ‘shell’ game legislators play

Hum along with Joe South’s greatest hit. Again.

Remember Senate Bill 14? The one filed by Sen. Danny Carroll that would have turned the Open Records Law upside down? Thankfully he withdrew that the day after filing it, not giving thought that it was such a disaster to Open Government. And February 5, he sat down with KPA representatives to hear all the issues we have with his original version.

Sen. Carroll had already promised to work with us and that he would come back during the second part of the 2019 session with new language.

That came to light Wednesday when the Senate clerk announced new bills filed that day. There among the announcement was “Senate Bill 193, an Act relating to Personal Information, Sen. Danny Carroll.”

So it was official. He said he would file a revised bill when this part of the session started and he did.

Well, he went through the act of filing one.

Consider:

• The original Senate Bill 14 was 15 pages long.

• The new bill is but 35 words or so. Here’s the complete language as it now stands:

“Section 1. KRS 61.884 is amended to read as follows: Any person shall have access to any public record relating to him or her or in which he or she is mentioned by name, upon presentation of appropriate identification, subject to the provisions of KRS 61.878.”

The knee-jerk reaction would be to sit back and let this go through. The real-life reaction is it’s what is referred to a “shell” or “placeholder.”

You see, when there’s a bill forthcoming that might have opposition, often times a legislator will file a fake bill. The important part of the bill is to make sure the title — in this case, An Act Relating to Personal Information — is in place. Then they’ll put in something, typically some language about being gender-neutral with no intention of that being how the real bill will read.

Somewhere, there’s a draft of what will become Senate Bill 193 and then we’ll know what we’re facing. Did he listen to all the criticism early in the session when he was attacked from all sides for his attempt to turn the Open Records Law upside down. Did really address the numerous problems with the bill or just make a couple of changes hoping that would pacify the opposition.

At this point, no one knows. And we probably won’t until it gets assigned to a committee and the chairman calls for the bill to be considered. Then the chairman or Senator Carroll will announce there is “a committee substitute” and presto! Out of the blue comes a new bill, new language. Then and only then will we know what’s taking place. And all that could happen next week.

So stay tuned and sing another verse with me.

 

 

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