Wed February 6, 2013
Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency
After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.
In his first year in office, Jindal pushed legislation that made “deliberative” communications confidential.
This is the third year in a row (every year since Jindal's legislation passed) such a bill has appeared before the legislature.
If passed, House Bill 19 would make all records of the governor’s office open to public record laws except intra-office communication. Even those communications would be unclassified 10 years after the creation of the record.
Sen. Gallot, the bill's co-author, said it’s understandable for some communications to be classified, to allow for the free-flow of ideas, but said the governor’s office overstepped its privilege when it hid discussion of media-spin regarding vouchers and the method by which schools were selected for the program.
“There are a lot of things that have clearly been attempt to keep the public out of the know, and when you’re talking about tax dollars," Gallot said, "there’s a certain expectation that the public should know what’s going on.”
The bill also requires the governor to be more open about his travels. Those records would only be confidential for seven days. The governor has already made several out-of-state appearances this year.