Continuing my rant on the law of unintended consequences, I bring to your attention this article on a state government‘s attempt to withhold records that were formerly available, through an expansive interpretation of a new state law.
The 2005 General Assembly enacted a new exception to the Open Records Law to cover items that might expose a “vulnerability in preventing, protecting against, mitigating, or responding to a terrorist act…”
The provision was first used by Gov. Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky State Police shortly after it was passed to deny access to records of the cost of providing security to Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney who flew in and out of Louisville on March 28 for a fundraising appearance for an Indiana congressman. Other than getting on and
off his airplane, he did not set foot in Kentucky.
“That was in violation of the spirit and intent of what we did,” said Weaver, D-Elizabethtown.
Weaver sponsored the legislation and has been surprised at the breadth of records being kept secret with the provisions. “It isn’t intended to be abused by someone,” Weaver said in a telephone interview Monday.
You may recall a long ago posting on the Kern County California District Attorney who invoked his own unique interpretation of the state law redacting criminal police reports. Similarly, the sponsor of this legislation declared that he had no expectation that the law would be applied in such a sweeping manner. But when you craft a law founded on secrecy, more secrecy is what you get. And, apparently, a little begets a lot more.[Technorati tag: secrecy government-records]