Kentucky State Capitol

Governor, please veto SB 48! The Kentucky House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 48 (SB 48) in a surprise, late-night vote on Monday, March 29, 2021. SB 48 amends Kentucky’s Open Records Act in such a way that is detrimental to the freedoms afforded to the media for public access of records relating to public officials, their families and more. The effects of SB 48 will be far-reaching, potentially farther than lawmakers realize.

“SB 48 goes well beyond protecting certain information from disclosure under the Open Records Act and for the first time requires government agencies to proactively redact records in their possession upon request from a law enforcement officer, judicial officer, or their family members,” said David Thompson, Kentucky Press Association Executive Director. “These unprecedented preemptive redaction requirements will permanently bar the public from examining even the most benign public records related to some of Kentucky’s most powerful public officials and their family members.”

The broad-reaching bill was rushed through the General Assembly before the end of their current session. The “secretive process” as Thompson noted is “intentionally inconsistent and threatens to disrupt basic commercial and governmental functions in ways that the General Assembly likely never considered.

“SB 48 is particularly unacceptable because it is unnecessary. The Open Records Act already requires redaction of information if disclosure ‘would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,’” Thompson writes.

SB 48 has not yet been signed by Governor Andy Beshear, and KPA is urging the Governor to veto the bill. Governor Beshear has 10 days to make a decision. Anyone wishing to call the Governor’s office to ask him to veto SB 48 should call (502) 564-2611.

To see how your State Senator or Representative voted on SB 48, see this link: https://legiscan.com/KY/votes/SB48/2021

To see Thompson’s op-ed concerning SB 48, click here.

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