Monday, April 4, 2011

OPA: OPPOSE HB 1559 that EXPANDS the attorney-client privilege for public bodies!

OPPOSE HB 1559 by Tulsa Republicans Rep. Fred Jordan and Sen. Dan Newberry.

This bill would EXPAND the attorney-client privilege for public bodies! (We want to LIMIT this privilege.) Do not allow public bodies to hide behind their attorney!

HB 1559 goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Senators on the Judiciary Committee are: Chairman Anthony Sykes, Vice Chair Rob Johnson, Josh Brecheen, Brian Crain, Judy Eason McIntyre, Charlie Laster, Richard Lerblance, Jonathan Nichols and Ralph Shortey.

Call your State Senator today!

This bill does not amend the Open Meeting Act but amends another title of law (12) that deals with all types of attorney-client privilege. If this becomes law it will create a conflict, and this language will prevail.


Public bodies currently only have attorney-client privilege for a “pending investigation, claim or action and the court determines that disclosure will seriously impair the ability of the public officer or agency to process the claim or conduct a pending investigation, litigation or proceeding in the public interest.” THAT IS ALREADY A VERY BROAD EXCEPTION.

HB 1559 eliminates the limiting language – which means public bodies can hide behind conversations with their attorney over anything! The ONLY exception in the bill – public bodies can’t use the privilege when called before a grand jury!

If any questions, contact Mark Thomas at 405-659-3966.

Mark Thomas
Executive Vice President
Oklahoma Press Association

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.

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