School Committee Bill “May” Infringe on Spirit of Open Gov’t

Warwick School Committee member Patrick Maloney has called attention to a proposed amendment to the “Open Meetings” law. According to House bill H5497 (sponsored by Representatives Hearn, Shallcross Smith, Marcello, Carnevale, and DaSilva):

Written public notice shall include, but need not be limited to, posting a copy of the notice at the principal office of the public body holding the meeting, or if no principal office exists, at the building in which the meeting is to be held, and in at least one other prominent place within the governmental unit, and electronic filing of the notice with the secretary of state pursuant to subsection (f); provided, that in the case of school committees the required public notice shall may be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the school district under the committee’s jurisdiction

Maloney writes, “In a time when we are looking for more transparency in Government, this bill calls for making School Committee meeting announcements in the newspaper optional. This is a step in the wrong direction.” No doubt. The bill is being heard by the House Finance Committee’s sub-committee on Education on Wednesday, April 29 at 2 PM in (Room 35) and by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, April 28 (no time available) in Room 205.

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