Griffin: ‘The last time FOIA was modernized, the iPhone hadn’t been invented’
LITTLE ROCK – Attorney General Tim Griffin today issued the following statement announcing the creation of his Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Review Working Group and its members:
“The last time FOIA was modernized, the iPhone hadn’t been invented yet. Since then, the use of digital records and new communications technology has increased exponentially, making it possible for public entities to create and retain more records than ever before, making responding to FOIA requests more complex and increasing the amount of FOIA requests being lodged with public entities.
“That is why this working group is so badly needed. It is a bicameral, bipartisan group that also includes members of the legal and press communities that will review the FOIA and provide my office with recommendations on how to improve the law.”
Griffin named seven people to the FOIA Review Working Group. They are:
• State Senator Breanne Davis of Russellville
• Ryan Owsley, Deputy Attorney General, Opinions Division
• John Payne, Deputy Attorney General, Civil Litigation Division
• State Representative David Ray of Maumelle
• State Senator Clarke Tucker of Little Rock
• John Tull III, Partner at Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull, PLLC
• Ashley Kemp Wimberley, Executive Director, Arkansas Press Association
“I appreciate Attorney General Griffin’s leadership in assembling this group of individuals to explore the modernization of our state’s Freedom of Information laws,” Ray said. “It is important that our laws provide citizens with ample transparency wherever possible and give taxpayers the efficient, customer-focused government they deserve. I look forward to serving on this working group.”
“Arkansas has one of the strongest FOIA laws in the country, and that’s the way it should stay,” Tucker said. “Over the years, the legislature has passed many FOIA amendments, which naturally were passed in piecemeal fashion. It’s essential for a coalition of people with varying backgrounds but shared expertise and commitment to review those changes, as well as the changes in our society, to ensure that we have a strong FOIA fit for a modern world. I’m grateful to the Attorney General for assembling that coalition and looking forward to the work together.”
“Guarding the state’s Freedom of Information Act has been a large part of my legal career,” Tull said. “I’m honored to serve with the other members of this working group to find ways to improve FOIA but maintain its strength. I’m thankful to Attorney General Griffin for bringing together this group to open this discussion.”
“It is important to be proactive in having these discussions in advance of legislative sessions,” Wimberley said. “I look forward to hearing the thoughts and ideas of others in this working group and seeing where there are opportunities to find middle ground while maintaining the strength of the state’s FOIA.”
About Attorney General Tim Griffin
Tim Griffin was sworn in as the 57th Attorney General of Arkansas on January 10, 2023, having
previously served as the state’s 20th Lieutenant Governor from 2015-2023. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District, where he served on the House Committee on Ways and Means, House Armed Services Committee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, House Committee on Ethics and House Committee on the Judiciary while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority.
Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps for more than 26 years and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq.
He is currently serving as the Commander of the 2d Legal Operations Detachment in New Orleans, Louisiana. His previous assignments include serving as the Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment at Fort Liberty (née Bragg), North Carolina, and as a Senior Legislative Advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Griffin earned a master’s degree in strategic studies as a Distinguished Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
Griffin also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush; Special Assistant to Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Arkansas; Senior Investigative Counsel, Government Reform and Oversight Committee, U.S. House of Representatives; and Associate Independent Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel David M. Barrett, In re: HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.
Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway, and Tulane Law School in New Orleans. He attended graduate school at Oxford University. He is admitted to practice law in Arkansas (active) and Louisiana (inactive). Griffin attends Immanuel Baptist Church and lives in Little Rock with his wife, Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.