Burns: LCB court battle is about the little guy

I hear it all the time from Republicans and Democrats who are frustrated and fed up with government bureaucracies and agencies that seem hell-bent on giving them a hassle, instead of the help they need.

In my offices, we try to cut through the red tape or smooth out that bumpy ride, because a state representative carries a little clout and respect in state government.

But recent actions of the state Liquor Control Board have proven that at least one state agency thinks it can keep public information a secret – even if a state representative is doing the asking.

All I want to know is how many once-dormant restaurant liquor licenses the LCB has available for auction in each county. The state Office of Open Records has sided with me, ordering the LCB to release those numbers.

However, the LCB clings to the notion that such information is a “trade secret” that it’s allowed to keep under wraps. The LCB, using a battery of taxpayer-paid attorneys, has forced me into a court battle to pry this information from its tight-fisted grip.

What are they hiding? I need that information to do the job I was elected to do. I’ve hired an attorney to fight this, using my own money, because I firmly believe the LCB shouldn’t get away with using taxpayer money to intimidate anyone from accessing public information.

If they can do it to me, they sure as heck will do it to you – and that’s unacceptable.