Sunshine Law Under A Dark Cloud

28 11 2007

Am I apart of this world? Are politicians and policy makers respresenting me? Are they representing you?

According to things that have happened in the last 24 hours, I would say no.

Wait, the Sunshine law is not so sunshiney today.

From the Chattanooga Pulse, who breaks it down:

Local government could meet in executive session to talk about what they want to offer or accept when talking about buying, selling, leasing or debating the market value of land or buildings. Publicly owned hospitals could talk about marketing strategies and strategic plans outside public view. School boards could talk about and grade a superintendent outside public view. The schools also could talk about land deals.

Do I have to pay taxes if they aren’t paying attention? Do I have a choice? Nope.

But, now things are changing. It’s not, as I’ve said 100 times, not about journalists. It’s about average citizens. It’s about things being discussed without input of government’s main boss.

That would be you.

This is utterly ridiculous.

Here’s why:

No Silence Here

R. Neal

I’m putting bloggers here, because these guys have been on top of things. Go read what they’ve been up to.

Here’s the story from the Nashville City Paper.

A pair of votes Tuesday was all that stood between recommending a state ombudsperson with no defined duties and one who was legally charged to help improve Tennesseans’ access to public records.

The Open Government Study Committee, which is charged with the task of studying and improving access to government, could have gone one of two ways: vote to recommend changes to the open records law with defined duties for the ombudsperson, or vote, as Nashville attorney George Barrett recommended, to do nothing.

Barrett’s move to not make any recommended changes to the Open Records Act fell two votes short, only garnering eight of the 10 votes needed for passage.

Instead, after lengthy deliberation, the open government panel voted unanimously to recommend changes to the state’s Open Records Act that included prescribed duties for the ombudsperson.

The state’s newly created “ombudsperson” will have the ability to issue informal opinions to Tennesseans on open record issues.

The ombudsperson, which was funded for the first time in this year’s state budget, will also be able to answer questions from “any person, including local government officials, the general public and the media” regarding open records.

An ombudsperson. “Informal Opinions?” What the hell is an informal opinion?

Guh-reat. I don’t think this will make a difference.

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