Roberts: Arizona Legislature to turn public records into state secrets?

, The Republic |

Fresh off last year’s successful effort to make it more difficult for you to see who is financing Arizona’s political campaigns, the Legislature will make a run this year at making it more difficult for you to see how the public’s business is being conducted.

Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, has proposed that government officials be allowed to deny public records requests that are considered “unduly burdensome or harassing.”

Like maybe the public records request filed by The Republic’s Rob O’Dell and Craig Harris in 2015? The one that showed taxpayers shelled out more than $6 million to settle discrimination, harassment and other workplace claims by 57 public employees between 2009 and 2014 – yet hardly any of the discriminators and harassers were disciplined?

Or maybe the public records requests filed by the Arizona Capitol Times last year? The ones that showed then-House Speaker David Gowan collected more than $1,600 in per diem for days he didn’t work? And traveled the state on the public’s dime (or actually the public’s thousands of dollars) as he campaigned for Congress?

Or maybe the public records request filed by The Republic’s Ken Alltucker last year? The one that showed that Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, University of Arizona’s then-senior vice president for health sciences, took $44,000 worth of out-of-state trips over three years and that his in-state travel cost us $34,000-plus? (Chauffeur-driven limousines do tend to be pricey, don’t you know.)

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