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Transparency Groups Cry Foul Over Proposed Open Records Reforms

LRC Public Information

Legislation on the fast track to approval in the Kentucky General Assembly is being called a "substantial rewrite" of the state's open records law.

Supporters of the new language, tucked inside a separate bill, maintain the changes are necessary to protect confidential constituent information and reduce burdens on the records system. The bill creates a new standardized form for all applications for open records, shuts out requests from out-of-state entities, and, according to critics, sets higher bars for those seeking the information.

Democratic Rep. Derrick Graham said the bill jeopardizes the public's ability to stay informed.

"It is the press that educates the citizenry of what were doing," he said during a floor speech. "And I think we're limiting the access in terms of getting to know exactly what's going on."

One organization sounding the alarm is the Kentucky Open Government Coalition, which slammed the legislation as an ill-conceived move that "largely abandons" the state's 45-year-old sunshine law.

The House ultimately voted 71-27 to approve the bill, which now heads to the Senate.

This is a developing story.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.