FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of Kentucky Spokesperson Samuel Crankshaw regarding Senate passage of Senate Bill 63, proposal to hide public information about public officials:
The Senate today passed Senate Bill 63 to restrict access to public information about public officials. This proposal would even make it illegal to post something as innocuous as “Governor Beshear lives in the Governor’s Mansion” on social media. SB63 is a draconian attack on free press, freedom of speech, and government transparency.
Senate Bill 63 would restrict Kentuckians’ freedom of speech and make it impossible for local news outlets to report accurate information about some of the highest-ranking government officials in the commonwealth. This proposal would prohibit all people from publishing or posting “personally identifiable information” about some public officials. Under SB63 it would be illegal for a local reporter to share information about a judge’s actions in their local courtroom because that would be considered illegally sharing information about that judge’s workplace. It could make it impossible to know if some lawmakers even live in the districts they represent. SB63 would also bring essential government functions to a halt by giving only three days for workers to remove public information about public officials.
Lawmakers heard testimony from several experts, including local news outlets, but voted to pass this legislation anyway.
Kentucky has some of the strongest open records laws in the nation that allow Kentuckians, journalists, and researchers to understand and engage with government. Elected officials must be accountable to the people, not themselves. We strongly urge the House of Representatives to reject Senate Bill 63.