TO THE EDITOR:
After I announced the creation of my informal FOIA Working Group, Arkansas Business published an opinion piece on June 19, 2023, saying that it was “concerned” and that readers “should be concerned too” because a member of the working group previously introduced legislation the editors didn’t like.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that only one point of view — this paper’s — matters. I believe in critical thinking, and diversity of thought and perspective is an essential ingredient. That’s why I assembled the individuals I did. The group I’ve assembled represents different political perspectives and experiences when it comes to the Freedom of Information Act. Some align with me on many policy issues; some do not. Either way, I intentionally chose this group of people because I respect their views on the FOIA, their knowledge of the FOIA and their commitment to engaging in civil discourse. Further, I intentionally eschewed difficult personalities, opting instead for individuals who are collaborative and drama-free.
The editorial board’s knee-jerk reaction that this working group was formed specifically to weaken Arkansas’ FOIA law is laughable — but predictable — hyperbole. The selection of three outspoken advocates of a strong FOI law speaks for itself: state Sen. Clarke Tucker, attorney and Arkansas FOIA Task Force member John Tull III and Arkansas Press Association Executive Director Ashley Kemp Wimberley.
In the spirit of transparency, it deserves mention that Arkansas Business’ contributing editor [Gwen Moritz] is the spouse of [Rob Moritz,] a member of the FOIA Task Force, an official body appointed by the General Assembly.