In the old Westerns, such as “Wagon Train,” the wagon master had to circle the wagons. Likewise, county and district officials came together during the 92nd General Assembly to “circle the wagons” to fight against detrimental legislation or to help get passed positive legislation.

— Photo courtesy of Can Stock Photo

§§ 5-2-606; 5-2-607; 5-2-608; 5-2-620] HB 1059 was filed in mid-January and was amended four times but died on the House calendar at sine die adjournment on April 24. Tank you for circling the wagons. Another “circling the wagons” episode came with the filing of HB 1630 to exempt information pertaining to a law en- forcement officer from the Freedom of Information Act and forbidding that information to be contained on public record websites. Tis was the reincarnation of a bill filed in the 2017 legislative session that was defeated at the end of the session. In this instance, it is not the philosophical idea that counties

are opposed to. We have the same concern for the safety of our law enforcement officers as do the sponsors of the legisla- tion. Te problem is a method of implementation that would actually work. Tese are official records such as land records, property tax records, etc. that must be readily available for le- gitimate purposes. County officials and other interested indus- tries worked with the sponsors of this bill to find some way to make the idea work. Tis bill was filed on Feb. 28 and finally a compromise was

reached. On April 1 the bill was totally rewritten, deleting the original language and creating an Undercover Law Enforce- ment Officer Public Records Protection Study. Te study is to


examine and produce a method of protecting the privacy of active undercover law enforcement officers in their personal lives by exempting certain records regarding the law enforce- ment officers’ personal information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. HB 1630 is now Act 963 of 2019. Te focus group ap- pointed to achieve the purpose of the study will be required to submit a written report of its activities, findings, and recom- mendations, including any proposed legislation for the 2021 Regular Session to a joint meeting of the House and Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs on or before May 1, 2020. Ten the scouts came back with another report — SB 636 was filed. We had to do it again. We had to circle the wagons around the “election coordinator bill.” And it was not because we don’t like election coordinators. Every county should have one. Every county needs one.

Tis bill was filed without consultation with county govern- ment. It added an additional subchapter of law concerning election coordinators and completely changed the landscape of a county election coordinator. Even more troublesome was

See “WAGONS” on Page 20 >>> 19

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