Support open meetings proposal

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 6, 2004

On Tuesday a bill was introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives that would drastically strengthen the state’s open meetings law, one of the oldest such laws in the country.

We cannot stress how important this legislation is to you, the average citizen who expects those representing you in public affairs to conduct your business in an open, accountable manner, which many times does not happen based on the ambiguities and loopholes in the current legislation.

Do you really want your governmental bodies to act in secret?

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Where is the accountability in that?

There is none.

No one would be held responsible for actions decided on or discussed behind closed doors.

There are many elected officials who want this legislation to fail for the simple reason that they want to continue to use the loopholes in the law to secretly conduct their business away from public scrutiny, which can, and has, had undesirable effects on the citizens of municipalities and counties across the state. During last year’s tax referendum, many of those we spoke to said they wanted more accountability in the way government works. How accountable do you think government will be if they are given the green light to continue to conduct business behind closed doors or in small "committees" that you, the public, should know about and be given the opportunity to participate in?

Well you spoke, and spoke loudly last September, now we implore you to speak again.

We encourage you to call Rep. Charles Newton and urge him to support this important public information issue. You can write him at 11 S. Union St., Room 541-E, Montgomery, 36130 or call him at (334) 242-4460.

Let your voice be heard before it is too late.

If you think there is no accountability in government now, watch what happens if the proposed changes to the open meetings bill fails.