Why are Arkansas Republicans Putting FOIAs in Jeopardy?
HB1610 says we cannot have open and public government in Arkansas, which is a dismissive slap in the face to taxpayers! Anything that weakens transparency should be considered dangerous. Can you imagine closing taxpayer-funded meetings, especially with the trying times we are living through these days?
If passed, HB1610 would allow less than 1/3 of the members of the governing bodies of all municipalities, counties, townships, and school districts and all boards, bureaus, commissions, or organizations of the State of Arkansas to meet and not be under the FOIA rules.
The sponsor of HB1610 has not been truthful. Rep. Mary Bentley stated that “The state legislature has been asked by the Supreme Court to define what a public meeting is, and that is what I have done…”
…BUT the current Freedom of Information Handbook DOES define what a Public Meeting is. See the parts extracted from the FOIA handbook directly below which show that the Sponsor of HB1610 is not being honest:
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook 20th Edition 2022
From page 6 of the FOIA handbook:
(6) “Public meetings” means the meetings of any bureau, commission, or agency of the state or any political subdivision of the state, including municipalities and counties, boards of education, and all other boards, bureaus, commissions, or organizations in the State of Arkansas, except grand juries, supported wholly or in part by public funds or expending public funds;
From page 14 of the FOIA handbook
25-19-106. Open public meetings.
(a) Except as otherwise specially provided by law, all meetings, formal or informal, special or regular, of the governing bodies of all municipalities, counties, townships, and school districts and all boards, bureaus, commissions, or organizations of the State of Arkansas, except grand juries, supported wholly or in part by public funds or expending public funds, shall be public meetings.
From page 27 of the FOIA handbook
(21) Statutes enacted for the public benefit are to be construed most favorably to the public. The FOIA was passed wholly in the public interest and is therefore to be liberally interpreted to the end that its purposes may be accomplished. The Act states that “except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all meetings. . .of the governing bodies of all municipalities. . shall be public meetings.” There exists no provision of law which “specifically” exempts meetings between the city council and the city attorney from the coverage of the FOIA. Laman v. McCord, 245 Ark. 401, 432 S.W.2d 753 (1968).
Bad bills like this one show that there is a decisive operation going on behind our backs, and people are having a hard time understanding the onslaught of dictatorial bills thrown at us by Republicans in this state.
Regarding HB1610, 93 out of 263 school districts have 5 board members. They could not have the private/secret meetings under HB1610. 1/3 of that governing body is less than 2 members. Other 7-member boards and 13-member boards could meet secretly; have serial meetings. These boards could also poll their members (and make decisions) secretly. This amended bill is a train wreck — drafted without FOIA Task Force input — and will result in unfair and unequal treatment and LAWSUITS! Call your senator today. No secret meetings in Arkansas!
This bill must be stopped in the Arkansas Senate! What senator will step up and defend the will of the people in Arkansas? Senators, please don’t trash transparency and don’t show such harsh contempt to the people who voted for you. Are you aware that many people are shocked that this bill has made it thus far and was forced through by Republicans? Again, please don’t abandon your conservative base.
Critical thinking calls for YOU to help and take action. Don’t let them censor us. Recognize manipulation!
HB1610 destabilizes our state and closes down what should be open meetings, and this bill deliberately destroys transparency. Rep. Mary Bentley (R) from Perryville thumbed her nose at the FOIA Task Force and the FOIA Coalition, very knowledgeable and respected groups.
Could it be because the FOIA Task Force and Coalition are standing in the way of Bentley and Peyton and their handlers getting this bad bill through and standing in the way of their political objectives?
Will the Senate overlook the FOIA Task Force and FOIA Coalition, too? You all know full well that they do NOT approve of this bill. It exhibits a particular form of treachery.
Secure Arkansas previously wrote this about HB1610 on March 21, 2023.
HB1610 clearly shows that our legislature is conducting political warfare against the populace in this state and restricting the rights of the people’s need-to-know, and all with the approval of our newly elected governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Also, Bentley was quoted in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and said the change was needed to make it easier for local lawmakers to meet to conduct business, and said it would put Arkansas’ Sunshine Law in line with how 47 other states regulate public meetings.
See, there’s this urgent need to neutralize the reporters in the press, the people, and other individuals that might possibly become a threat, especially if they suspect or see criminal things going on in government, so this FOIA Law must be stopped quickly in this last leg of our 2023 legislative session.
You’ve heard it before: people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.
We need to expose the actors in the swamp at the state level, not just the national level… the operatives/ players/ elected representatives in the One World Government!
Why expose? Because there’s a nasty corporatist agenda we need to be aware of. It’s leading us down a path of no return. Quoting the book “Woke, Incorporated,” the CCP is the spider at the center of the global web of stakeholder capitalism.
Regrettably, the government is corrupt, criminally corrupt, and operating far outside the box of Constitutionality. It can only be concluded that the government has become the enemy of the people. Just because an elected representative has an “R” placed by their name does NOT mean they are conservative.
Most of them serve a shadow government, NOT a constitutional government. We simply cannot afford to ignore the United Nations Corporatist Agenda (globalist agenda). They are about to call a checkmate on the good people in this state and country, and the United Nations is the command center for the One World Government.
This anti-FOIA bad bill, HB1610, must NOT go through the Senate!
HB1610 is part of the takedown of our constitutional government system. Secret meetings are a must for the powers-that-be in order for them to proceed with UN Agenda 2030! Agenda 2030 has a slogan: “global to local”. This is the action of the Great Reset! This “woke” generation is leading people into totalitarian government. The very fabric of our society is being torn down. This evil ideology divides us and is being championed by America’s corporations and political leaders that rob us of our money, our voice, our American identity, and our freedoms, and they MUST have things decided secretly.
This bill shows a clear intent to dismantle the open meetings provision of our Sunshine Law.
Have you seen what has been going on in our government? It’s bad, dear reader. Once this devastating bill goes through, there will be no turning back from the cover-ups and secret meetings behind our backs. We won’t recover our freedom once this little bill goes through the Senate. Mark our words, this is just the beginning…
The Arkansas state legislature has many traitorous Republicans, so…
why are they betraying us?
For whom do they really work?
And more importantly, how are they getting away with it, right under the people’s nose…?
Well, the politicians’ cover is to be socially conservative so that the majority of people will think that they can trust them, and then, they can get away with the Agenda 2030 business/policies which their handlers give them to move their “woke” policies forward in each state. Conservatives swallow their underhanded policies, hook-line-and-sinker and are all too trusting with those they supposedly elected to represent them.
The dismantling of America under UN Agenda 2030 has many faces, and there is a concerted effort to hide Agenda 2030’s roots from the people. Representative government is being replaced with executive regional governance ruled from the (national) federal core.
But enough is enough! Look at all the bad, restrictive legislation that Republicans are sponsoring and voting “YES” on, here in Arkansas. Our politicians are relying on these out of state groups to direct their paths rather than listening to the people that elected them.
The majority of all state legislation is not written in Arkansas nor by our elected representatives. We know the Rep. Mary Bentley did NOT write this destructive bill, but she was given this bill to run through our statehouse. Who are the entities supporting these malevolent changes? We will be covering all this in a future article soon.
Most of it is coming from the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC members, including state lawmakers and corporate representatives, meet in task forces on specific issues and then collaborate to write model legislation. ALEC is notoriously secretive about the process by which members draft and approve the model legislation that is doled out to lawmakers.
The modern woke-industrial complex that is running our Statehouses across the country is perilous to our Republic and our U.S. Constitution.
Has the global elite got a plan underway to conduct a One World Government, or not?
Do the people here in Arkansas have to form their own circle of trust because we are concerned about out-of-control government? We must seriously consider the role we must play to help save this country and state. Getting rid of this bill is important for us to keep our eyes on government meetings.
Stand up and speak up, Arkansans!
According to the arkleg website, HB1610 comes up in the Senate State Agencies & Govt’l Affairs committee on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 (but it could come up sooner.)
Time is of the essence!
See the committee agenda here.
See the information, bill status, and history here.
URGENT ACTION: Please contact the members of Arkansas Senate State Agencies & Govt’l Affairs Committee ASAP, and let them know you want them to VOTE NO on HB1610 in the interest of transparency in government.
|Sen. Blake Johnson||Chair||[email protected]||870-323-1766|
|Sen. Clarke Tucker||Vice-Chair||[email protected]||501-246-4933|
|Sen. Steve Crowell||[email protected]||870-557-3440|
|Sen. Jim Dotson||[email protected]||479-222-1234|
|Sen. Stephanie Flowers||[email protected]||501-682-7664|
|Sen. Bart Hester||[email protected]||479-531-4176|
|Sen. Bryan King||[email protected]||501-682-5452|
|Sen. John Payton||[email protected]||501-362-5815|
You can copy/paste this list of emails below to email all of the Senate committee members at one time, if you like:
And this bill will go before the full Senate if it passes through the committee, so please contact ALL of the senators and tell them you want them to VOTE NO on HB1610 in the interest of transparency in government:
Justin Boyd [email protected] 479-262-2156
Joshua Bryant [email protected] 501-500-2206
Ronald Caldwell [email protected] 501-682-6107
Linda Chesterfield [email protected] 501-888-1859
Alan Clark [email protected] 501-844-6800
Steve Crowell [email protected] 870-557-3440
Breanne Davis [email protected] 479-970-0081
Tyler Dees [email protected] 479-549-5057
Jonathan Dismang [email protected] 501-766-8220
Jim Dotson [email protected] 479-222-1234
Jane English [email protected] 501-257-7670
Scott Flippo [email protected] 870-421-3420
Stephanie Flowers [email protected] 870-535-1032
Ben Gilmore [email protected] 501-467-5952
Kim Hammer [email protected] 501-840-3841
Bart Hester [email protected] 479-531-4176
Jimmy Hickey JR [email protected] 870-772-4444
Ricky Hill [email protected] 501-286-2285
Missy Irvin [email protected] 870-269-2703
Blake Johnson [email protected] 870-323-1766
Mark Johnson [email protected] 501-682-2920
Bryan King [email protected] 870-480-3155
Greg Leding [email protected] 479-966-9201
Fredrick Love [email protected] 501-612-3939
Matt McKee [email protected] 501-622-0860
Reginald Murdock [email protected] 501-940-5157
John Payton [email protected] 501-362-5815
Clint Penzo [email protected] 479-466-6681
Jim Petty [email protected] 479-459-6362
Terry Rice [email protected] 479-637-3100
Matt Stone [email protected] 870-818-0750
Gary Stubblefield [email protected] 479-635-4314
Dan Sullivan [email protected] 870-275-2929
Clarke Tucker [email protected] 501-246-4933
David Wallace [email protected] 870-919-8046
You can copy/paste this list of emails below to email ALL of the Senators at one time, if you like:
Many heartfelt prayers for those affected by the recent tornados…
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Securing the blessings of liberty,
image credit for cover image