The executive director of the Arkansas Press Association will offer education on the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act in Fort Smith on Sept. 21.
The Transparency in Government Group of Western Arkansas will host the event 6 p.m. at the Riverfront Pavilion, 100 N. B St. “to assist the general public to better understand its rights as provided by the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act,” a news release states.
Tom Larimer, executive director of the APA, is set to speak on Freedom of Information Act rules, in particular the law on conducting meetings via email.
The Fort Smith Board of Directors and the Fort Smith School Board have each been scrutinized by the Sebastian County Prosecutor’s Office recently for conducting public business in email exchanges. Larimar is expected to address comments being made to possibly amend FOIA, and attempts by the Arkansas General Assembly to weaken FOIA.
Larimer will also have a question and answer session. FOIA experts Bill Ray Lewis of the Boone County Transparency Group and Jim Parsons of the Bella Vista Patriots will also be in attendance to provide additional comments on transparency issues in their communities, the release adds.
The Transparency in Government Group of Western Arkansas is an “organized group of individuals dedicated to ensuring that maximum openness in governmental affairs is practiced by every agency which utilizes taxpayer monies,” the release adds.