Bill to ban pesky public-records requests in Arizona is back

, The Republic |

No records for you!

A bill to allow government officials to deny any public-record request they choose by arguing it is "unduly burdensome" or "harassing" is back for a second year in a row.

State Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, introduced Senate Bill 1019. It's identical to the bill he proposed last year. The Senate last year passed Senate Bill 1282, but the House overwhelmingly voted it down.

Kavanagh last year said the bill was not meant to limit media or public access to information, but to curb abuse. He said he introduced it at the request of cities that say there are a handful of gadflies who make an extraordinary number of very broad requests for records, requiring significant work from city staff, and then don't even look at the results.

Kavanagh suggested anyone who thought they were unfairly denied a public record could sue to get it.

Last year, both Republicans and Democrats opposed the bill, saying it was too broad and could allow a city employee to decide any request is unreasonable, including from the media.

This year, it's a new Legislature, but not so new — many of the 40 House members who voted down the bill last year are still around.

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