Kentucky Sen. Danny Carroll withdraws open records bill after criticism

PADUCAH — Kentucky Sen. Danny Carroll has withdrawn a bill that would’ve limited information you can access through Kentucky’s open records law.

The bill drew criticism over wording that would allow agencies to withhold disciplinary records. Carroll says he withdrew the bill on Wednesday.

He plans on partnering with journalists, the Kentucky Press Association, and others to draft a new bill.

“I want to hear exactly what their concerns are. As it’s related to open records, I’m a little confused. I know there’s a couple of sections on it that would’ve been much more restrictive as far as any disciplinary actions, and I have to agree with them [Kentucky Press Association] on that and that would be removed. That was strictly an oversight on my part that I take responsibility for,” Carroll says.

Carroll says the bill’s original intent was to protect personal information mainly of first responders but also judges and other public officials.

“People hold grudges, and it puts them at risk through their careers and even after their careers. It puts their families’ lives at risk. The intent of the bill is to protect basic information, basic identifiers — address, date of birth, anything that might identify that person outside of their name that might allow somebody to track them down, or to cause them some hardship, or put them or their family in danger. That’s the purpose of the bill, and that was the intent from the beginning,” Carroll says.

Carroll says it’s common practice to prefile a bill and solicit feedback from the public to use in lawmakers’ discussions surrounding that bill.

“Everybody wants transparency. I tried to offer transparency by putting the bill out early, asking for criticism, asking for input. It’s a little confusing, because I’m being criticized for doing that,” Carroll says.

Carroll says he hopes use the input from journalists and others to draft a bill and have it ready by February when the regular session continues.

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Related: Proposed bill could limit information you can access through Kentucky open records law