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Across US, lawmakers chip away at public’s access to records

September 17, 2017

State lawmakers across the country introduced dozens of bills this year to close or limit public access to a wide range of government records, information and meetings.

That’s according to a nationwide review by The Associated Press.

Freedom-of-information advocates say they are alarmed by the trend toward government secrecy. Most of the proposals did not become law, but advocates are bracing for more fights next year.

In Arkansas, new laws will seal a host of school and police records. Florida approved 19 new exemptions to its open-records law. Nebraska lawmakers debated whether to keep secret the suppliers of drugs used in executions.

And in California, lawmakers shielded from public review the emergency action plans for dams, after nearly 200,000 people were forced to evacuate following a spillway failure last winter.

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