|Governor Bentley Announces Support for Legislation to Strengthen Alabama’s Open Meetings Law|
|Written by News Desk|
|Friday, 17 January 2014 15:58|
MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday announced his support for new legislation that will strengthen Alabama's Open Meetings Law.
"Transparency promotes government accountability, and as elected officials, we are held accountable for our decisions by the people we serve," Governor Robert Bentley said. "It is important that our state's open meetings law allows the public to see and be involved in government decisions. The goal of this new legislation is to further strengthen Alabama's Open Meetings Law."
The legislation will propose three legislative amendments to the current 2005 Open Meetings Law.
(1) It expressly states that meetings in small groups without proper notice to discuss issues that will come before the full body is not permitted. There are times when government business requires closed-door meetings, and the current law provides for those situations.
(2) Clarifies that any Alabama citizen has a right to bring an action against a governmental body if it believes it has violated the law, and any penalties assessed are payable to the plaintiff.
(3) The legislation reflects that the Alabama Constitution requires the Alabama Legislature to meet with its doors open to the public unless a vote is taken in public that secrecy is required in certain circumstances.
The legislation, introduced on Wednesday, is co-sponsored by Senator Cam Ward of Alabaster and Representative Mike Hill of Columbiana.
"Transparency is crucial to maintaining the public's trust in our government institutions," Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) said. "We must do everything we can to ensure that we have the highest level of open access in the operation of government."
"Meeting one on one to avoid discussing public business in public was never intended to be an acceptable practice under the Open Meetings Law, except where expressly permitted," Representative Mike Hill (R-Columbiana) said. "I was a co-sponsor of the rewrite of our Open Meetings Law in 2005, and as is the case with most comprehensive laws, some areas need to be better defined and clarified. That is my goal with this new legislation."
The Alabama Press Association is a statewide trade association representing daily and non-daily newspapers in Alabama and also supports the new legislation.
"These simple amendments only clarify the original intent of the Alabama Legislature to have a strong and effective open meetings law that provides a window into the deliberative process of their government," Dennis Bailey, general counsel of the Alabama Press Association said.
A copy of the bill can be found here.
|Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 15:59|
Hope Nelson proudly displays her artwork and painted face. Photos of children's artowork are available at Whimsy Daisy's Facebook page.
Photo: ContributedRead more...
At the Farmborough International Airshow (L-R): Greg Canfield - Director of The Alabama Department of Commerce, Daniele Cagnatel - President and CEO GKN Aerospace North America, Governor Robert Bentley, Leisa Finley - ECEDA Director, Elmore County Commissioner Joe Faulk
Photo: Special to The IndyRead more...
|FOXNews.com - Breaking news and video. Latest Current News: U.S., World, Entertainment, Health, Business, Technology, Politics, Sports.|
|Latest news from ESPN.com|
|The Weather Channel: Your Local Weather Outlook--Millbrook, AL|
|Local Weather Outlook for Millbrook, AL. Since 1982, The Weather Channel has brought timely weather information to the world. Now via our Local Weather Outlook RSS feed we can keep you up-to-date on the latest weather affecting the cities of your choice including: current local conditions, local Doppler radar, pollen trends, regional video forecasts with expert commentary, and extended forecast details delivered right to your desktop. The Weather Channel...Bringing Weather To Life|