Sullivan & Unicoi Counties Oppose Change in Open Meetings Law

From Unicoi
ERWIN, Tenn. (AP) — The Unicoi County Commission has voted against supporting a proposal that would allow county business to be conducted in private.
The 7-1 vote on Monday comes a month after a unanimous vote to draw up a resolution supporting changes to the state’s Sunshine Law, according to the Johnson City Press (http://bit.ly/tRyKW4).
The law forbids two or more officials on a local legislative body, such as a county commission, from meeting privately to deliberate on public business.
The Tennessee County Commissioners Association is promoting a change to allow closed-door talks as long as a quorum is not present.
Unicoi Commissioner Doug Bowman brought the proposal last month. He said the county would be better served by discussing matters such as property purchases and prospective industries out of public view.

From Sullivan County:
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sullivan County commissioners decided Monday against a resolution that asked the General Assembly to loosen open meeting laws for county and city governments.
The commissioners approved the first reading of the ordinance last month. But according to the Bristol Herald Courier, several commissioners said Monday that people in the community opposed the idea (http://bit.ly/tefSXs). They said people were worried that the commissioners would meet behind closed doors.
The Tennessee County Commissioners Association has been pushing the effort. Commissioners in Williamson and Obion counties have approved similar resolutions. Rhea, Roane and Anderson commissioners voted against one.
The 37-year-old law, also known as “the sunshine law,” currently forbids two or more officials on a local legislative body, such as a county commission or city council, from meeting privately to deliberate on government matters.
The county commissioners group hopes to amend the law and allow members of government bodies to discuss public affairs in private, as long as the discussion involves less than a quorum. The law applies only to local governments. The General Assembly has enacted a statute allowing legislators to hold private discussions when there is less than a quorum of the body present.
Gov. Bill Haslam, former mayor of Knoxville, has said he opposes the change

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