AG’s opinion endangers transparency

In Advocacy on June 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The Tennessee Attorney General’s opinion out this week is just that, an opinion—and not a very good one. The AG’s comment regarding what constitutes a violation of the state’s sunshine law would essentially put all the foxes in charge of the henhouse. The AG has essentially opined that local elected officials can determine by themselves when they are and are not “deliberating” the public’s business in violation of the Open Meetings Act. The opinion may or may not reflect how the courts would rule in a case where county commissioners would meet over lunch and discuss the public’s business without the public either being notified of the meeting or having the opportunity to attend the meeting. Citizens of the state of Tennessee, the media, and every local official should take note of the fact that this opinion is non-binding. While some may think the opinion is “very clear,” it could not be more unclear. While the state’s open meetings act clearly does not prohibit chance meetings it also clearly does not intend for such chance meetings to open the door for officials to shape policy in the dark.

For coverage of the AG’s opinion see:

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