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A roundup of government access debates around the country

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  1. Freedom of Information
Lawmakers in a few different states are working on media-related issues this week. A quick roundup: In Kansas, a reporter's…

Lawmakers in a few different states are working on media-related issues this week. A quick roundup:

In Kansas, a reporter’s privilege bill was revived after several Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee members expressed an interest in voting on it. According to The Associated Press, the chairman, Sen. Tim Owens, initially scrapped the proposed law because it didn’t seem to have enough support to make it out of the committee.

The Senate in Arkansas approved a bill on Monday that compels lawmakers to publicly delineate any exemptions made to the state Freedom of Information Act. The proposal was made by Rep. Dan Greenberg, to "make it easier for the public to find out what changes the Legislature plans to make to state law protecting access to public records and meetings,” said the AP.

In South Dakota, a state senator is rallying for public access, making a case on Wednesday for a bill spelling out that all government records are open unless exempted by law. According to the AP, the proposal won’t change any of the current closed-record laws. However, as one journalist put it, the bill is a "sea change in the way South Dakota views government records."

And finally, Tennessee evaluated the first year of its new Office of Open Records Counsel — an ombudsman’s office instituted to mediate between the public and government officials. The office received about 600 calls in its first year, the AP said.