Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah's Right to Know
Donald Meyers
Donald W. Meyers writes about open-government issues for The Salt Lake Tribune. He is also the site manager of utahsright.com, the Tribune's online database of public records. He is also a member of the Society of Professional Journalists' National Freedom of Information Committee and sits on the board of directors of the Utah Foundation for Open Government.

» E-mail

» Twitter: @donaldwmeyers

» Subscribe (RSS)




Bill would require three day’s notice of meetings, but no penalties for violations

The House Political Subdivisions Committee unanimously approved a watered-down version of Rep. Kraig Powell’s bill requiring meeting agendas be posted 72 hours in advance.

The committee voted Monday to send out HB207 after the Heber Republican altered his original provision that only "unforeseen" items could be added to the posted agenda up to 24 hours before the meeting. Now, any item can be added to the agenda up until the day before the meeting.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Also, the bill states that the state could not take action against a city council, school board or other public entity subject to the Open and Public Meetings Act for failing to comply with the 72-hour notice rule. The bodies’ actions would still be subject to being overturned if they violate the current 24-hour deadline for posting meeting notices.

Instead, Powell said it would be up to the public’s moral indignation to enforce the 72-hour rule.

"But there would be political pressure if [a public agency] did that for a couple meetings," Powell said. "The people would be asking, ‘What are you hiding?’"

Powell made the changes after the Utah League of Cities and Towns objected to the original text of the bill. Lincoln Shurtz, the league’s lobbyists, told lawmakers at the first committee meeting that since "foreseen" was not adequately defined, cities would be open to lawsuits for adding an item to the agenda that someone believed did not come up at the last minute.

Lynn Pace, a member of the league’s board of directors and a Holladay City Councilman, said the ULCT appreciated Powell’s willingness to amend the bill.

Powell said the bill’s intent is to increase transparency. He said many cities already have agendas ready three or more days before a meeting.

The additional time, Powell said, allows people to become better informed about issues in their communities.

The bill is now awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.