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Friday, May 23, 2008

Louisiana FOI Bill Passes House

Legislation passed out of the state House of Representatives on Wednesday would put a time limit on how long the governor and his key staff get to keep their public records private.

House Bill 1100, as amended on the House floor, would allow the governor, his chief of staff and his executive counsel to keep their records confidential for up to three years.

State Rep. Wayne Waddell, R-Shreveport and sponsor of HB1100, said he is happy with the bill’s new language because it would require the Governor’s Office to keep its records and would open them within the governor’s term of office.

On the floor, Waddell commended Gov. Bobby Jindal on his legislative package for stronger ethics and a better image for Louisiana. Waddell said Jindal has said more than once that he wants transparency in every state agency.

“Members, we are now gold plated,” Waddell said. “It’s time that we become solid gold.”

Existing law allows for everyone in the Governor’s Office to keep the records they generate and use secret, as well as the employees of about 60 agencies that are considered part of the Governor’s Office, such as the Office of Civil Rights, the Pet Overpopulation Advisory Council and the poet laureate.

HB1100 would require everyone — except the governor, his two top advisors and their staffs — to make their records immediately available for inspection by the public.

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