LITTLE ROCK — Sen. Gary Stubblefield had two measures advance concerning sealing of Freedom of Information Act exceptions last week in Little Rock.
The House voted 52-7 Tuesday to approve a bill that would allow public school districts to keep information about their security personnel secret.
Senate Bill 12 by Stubblefield, R-Branch, would create an exemption from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for any public school records that upon disclosure could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to public safety and any personal information about security personnel.
The bill passed previously in the Senate and now goes back to that chamber for concurrence in a House amendment that added a co-sponsor.
The House also voted 73-5 Tuesday to approve and send to the governor a bill that would allow the state Capitol Police to keep information about security personnel at the Capitol secret.
Senate Bill 131 by Stubblefield, would create an exemption from the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for any Capitol Police records that upon disclosure could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to public safety and any personal information about security personnel.
The bill passed previously in the Senate.
In other matters involving Stubblefield, he chose not to vote in a bill to end the dual recognition of the Martin Luther King and Robert E. Lee holidays.
He also had another bill ,to ban medical marijuana in food, fail. The Senate on Tuesday rejected a bill to ban the manufacture and sale of food and drink containing medical marijuana.
Senate Bill 333 by Stubblefield, received 15 votes in support and 11 against. Because it would amend the constitutional amendment voters approved in November to legalize medical marijuana, it needs a two-thirds vote to pass, or 24 votes in the 35-member Senate.
The Senate approved a motion by Stubblefield to expunge the vote by which the bill failed, allowing him to bring it back at a later date. Stubblefield said he will see if he can drum up enough support to justify seeking another vote.
Presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Stubblefield said allowing the manufacture and sale of food and drink containing marijuana could lead to accidental consumption of the drug by children.
Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, said the state Medical Marijuana Commission is developing regulations to ensure the drug is not produced or packaged to appeal to children. He also noted that the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana makes reference to the inclusion of marijuana in food and drink.
Hutchinson said he opposed the amendment when it was on the ballot, but it passed, and “our job is to do the best we can to implement the will of the people.”
The vote came a day after the Senate rejected a bill to prohibit smoking marijuana anywhere in the state. SB 357 by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, received 10 votes in support and 15 against.
John Lyon contributed information used in this report.