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Friday, March 27, 2009

Ark. bill to exempt executions from public record stalls

An Arkansas Senate committee is trying to reach a compromise concerning a bill that would exempt all "policies and procedures for carrying out the sentence of death and any and all matters related" from the Administrative Procedure Act and the FOIA, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Execution procedures, including what drugs are used in executions, would then be left up to the prison director.

An attempt to amend state laws on executions stalled in a Senate committee Wednesday after members questioned the need for secrecy about what chemicals are used.

After a lengthy discussion, Rep. Bobby Pierce, D-Sheridan, delayed consideration of the bill so a compromise might be worked out between prison officials who want virtually the entire process to be exempt from the state's Freedom of Information Act and some members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who said they were concerned that too much would be concealed.

With perhaps two weeks left in the legislative session, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's chief deputy, Justin Allen, promised to bring back House Bill 1706 before lawmakers depart the Capitol.

More here.

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