Monday, March 29, 2010

Legislators Bury Bills That Would Expose them to Sunshine

Many in Massachusetts do not realize that the legislature has exempted itself from the open meeting law. While most state and local boards and committees are required by law to conduct their business in public, the legislature has no such requirement.

Two bills that would have changed that have effectively been killed. Both have been ordered to be sent to study committees, which generally means the bills will see no further action for the remainder of the legislative session.

The two bills were:
  • House 3496, filed by Rep. Jennifer M. Callahan, a Democrat who represents the 18th Worcester district. Her bill would have applied the open meeting law to the legislature and also would have required the legislature to publish advance notices of committee hearings in at least two newspapers.
  • House 1118, filed by Rep. Thomas M. Stanley, a Democrat who represents the 9th Middlesex district. His bill would have included the legislature within the provisions of the open meeting law.
It would seem that what's good for the goose is not so good for the gander. 


Adam Gaffin said...

Not to disagree in general, but requiring the legislature to post notices in two newspapers? That bill should have died for that reason alone.

Bob Ambrogi said...

If legislators considered just that aspect of it to be unreasonable, they could have revised it. The larger issue remains that the legislature is exempt from the open meeting law. That is not the case in other states.