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Controversial open records bill withdrawn

Sen. Danny Carroll (R-Paducah) has withdrawn his controversial Senate Bill 14.

The legislation would have created new prohibitions on disclosure of public records and substantially redefined some aspects of public record law, according to open government advocates who oppose the bill.

The Kentucky Press Association issued a statement Tuesday warning the bill was “a flat-out attempt to eviscerate the open records law as an effective tool for the public to monitor the actions and activities of large and important parts of state and local government.”

Carroll, a former police officer, told multiple news outlets the bill was intended to protect the personal information of police officers and other public officials. He withdrew the bill during the Kentucky Senate’s meeting Wednesday afternoon.

David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association, told Kentucky newspaper editors in an email Wednesday that Carroll had “told some reporters he would be doing that, in hopes of meeting with KPA, (open records attorney) Jon Fleischaker and others to see if there’s any way to address whatever his concerns are.”

“So Senate Bill 14 is dead for this session, but could come back in another form later in the session,” Thompson wrote.