With unanimous support, Monday, the Senate passed a bill to make the state Office of the Public Records Advocate independent.
Introduced with bipartisan support, in response to the resignation of Ginger McCall, the state’s first appointed public records advocate, SB 1506 sought to remedy the challenge of political pressures put on a position directed under a partisan government office.
In the fall, McCall submitted a letter of resignation to the Public Records Advisory Council (PRAC) a body designed to support the work of the advocate, reporting pressure to act outside of the interest of the public records advocate role. In the letter, McCall stated, “I have received meaningful pressure from the Governor’s General Counsel to represent the Governor’s Office’s interests on the Public Records Advisory Council, even when those interests conflict with the will of the Council and the mandate of the Office of the Public Records Advocate.”
SB 1506 would make the position independent within the executive branch, and charges the PRAC with appointing the advocate. It also allows the council to support or oppose legislation related to public records law.
The bill has been first read in the House, and awaits a committee assignment.
Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate