Rep. Lindsley Smith has revived legislation defeated two years ago to provide attorney fees and litigation expenses for plaintiffs who substantially prevail in Freedom of Information Act challenges.
Maybe Gov. Mike Beebe won’t stand in the way this time, since the bill does not waive the state’s immunity. Instead, it would send claimants to the Claims Commission for consideration of fee payment. Awards voted by the Claims Commission would have to be approved by the legislature, a sometimes messy political process.
Cities and counties will howl. They are the worst abusers of the law, precisely because they can bully the people with empty pockets who bring most of the FOI requests.