The state Attorney General's office and the Arkansas Press Association will be hosting a series of workshops on Arkansas's freedom of information law. The workshops will take place at several locations around the state.
The first will be held Thursday in Jonesboro. Aaron Sadler, spokesman for the AG's office, says the events are intended to educate many groups of people about the law, not simply journalists and attorneys.
“Our office wants to reach out specifically to public officials, those who work in our courthouses, those who work in our city halls to inform them about the law so that they can make better decisions when someone submits a FOIA request,” says Sadler. “We’re going to talk to them a little about the process of responding to a request: what they should look for, what they should ask for and how they can help their constituents.”
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1967. Sadler notes that it compares favorably to other states' FOIA laws because it contains only a handful of exemptions for accessible information.
Workshops will be also held in Fort Smith, Bentonville, Texarkana and Little Rock in the coming weeks and months. The workshops are free but participants must register beforehand.