Highlights of HSPA’s efforts with the General Assembly this week:

• So far in the 2015 session, HSPA has identified more than 60 potential bills that it either supports, opposes or might want to see amended to protect a free press, public access and public notice advertising.

• The Senate Local Government Committee passed SB 288 by a vote of 6-0. The bill now has a sunset provision of five years. The bill would preserve publication of notice of budget hearing through that time.

• State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, voluntarily removed a provision from his S.B. 438 concerning privileged communications of state officials and agencies. HSPA believed the language would have expanded confidentiality for work product of an attorney and deliberative materials, weakening the Access to Public Records Act.

• HSPA is in communication with Republican State Sens. Pete Miller and Rodric Bray about bills with negative public notice impact. Both expressed willingness to work with HSPA to remedy the issues.