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AGFC drops draft proposal to consider new FOI rules for the agency; Public provides important feedback

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced today it will withdraw a draft proposal that outlined new Freedom of Information rules and procedures for the agency.

The commission's governance committee, by a unanimous 3-0 vote, this afternoon approved a motion to withdraw the rules from further discussion or consideration.

"This commission clearly understands the problems associated with drafting new FOI rules for our agency," committee chair Emon Mahony said during the meeting. "We apologize for, and regret, the public confusion this draft proposal has caused. The governor, attorney general and legislature believe that pursuing this draft proposal is not a good idea - and the commission unanimously agrees."

The commission's attorneys submitted the draft proposal to the governance committee on Oct. 20. The governance committee approved the proposal so that it could then be released publicly and given to the full commission for initial consideration.

"The role of the governance committee in this process was to make sure that this draft could be made public so we could get comments from all of our commission members and the general public," Mahony said. "It was our genuine intent from the very beginning to be open and transparent so that all Arkansans who treasure our natural resources would have a voice in this process. We have listened, and we think the appropriate step is to apologize for any confusion this has caused and to withdraw the draft proposal."

"This commission is absolutely committed to open government. It was never our intent to give any impression to the contrary."