Politics

A state senator is pulling controversial legislation that opponents criticize will restrict public records access in Kentucky, and plans to replace it with a revised version.

Republican State Senator Danny Carroll of Paducah proposed legislation in mid-December that would hold public records custodians personally liable and open to fines if private information is released in records. The bill would also force records requesters to pay potential lawsuit fines if a request is found to be “frivolous.”

Senator Carroll said he is now pulling the bill and revising it because he feels recent media coverage has misconstrued the legislation’s meaning. He plans on introducing the revised bill after the three-week legislative recess.

“So we’re just going to look at the language and possibly to make sure it’s clear what the intent is, and that’s to protect the safety of police, firefighters, justices, social workers, prison guards, people like that,” Carroll said.

Carroll told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting he didn’t write the bill but said this isn’t unusual. He said the Secret Service agent who introduced the idea for the bill will most likely testify when the revised version reaches committee.

“It’s not unusual for ideas or legislation or even drafts of legislation to come from many different sources. I’ve taken some criticism for that, and I think it’s from people that don’t really understand the process at all,” Carroll said. “This particular service agent is very well-versed and has done a lot of research, and has compiled several different laws across the country into this bill.”

Carroll said he was connected to this Secret Service agent from a Homeland Security official who didn’t have an role in drafting the bill.