Three Republican Senators plan to introduce legislation mirroring a House package of bills that expands the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to include the governor’s office and the legislature, despite their caucus leader’s resistance to the idea. According to a report in Gongwer, Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-30) has opposed expanding FOIA to the legislative branch, specifically citing concerns over communications between constituents and their legislators.
But, both the House package and the bills expected to be introduced by Senator Tonya Schuitmaker (R-26) and Senator Rick Jones (R-24) exempt communications between constituents and their legislator from being disclosed. The bills would remove the current FOIA exemptions for the governor, lieutenant governor, and executive office employees and create a new part to the act, the Legislative Open Records Act, which would subject the Legislature to the disclosure provisions of FOIA. Records currently exempt from disclosure under FOIA would remain exempt as well.