Open Meetings Bills Considered

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One bill passed by the House of Representatives Judiciary B Committee would set a $100 penalty for members of public boards that intentionally close meetings that are supposed to be open.

It also would require the board to pay legal expenses if they're successfully sued over the closings.

The Senate added a provision to limit attorney's fees to a maximum of $1,000. The House bill has no such limit on attorney's fees.

The two chambers have also passed different versions of a bill to require teleconferences and video conference of public bodies to be open to the public.

The Senate bill would require notices of such meetings to be posted 30 days in advance and allow public access to them. Notice would not be required if a meeting was called on emergency matters.

The House legislation did not go into such detail. If the full House approves the open meetings bills, the measures probably would be sent to a House-Senate conference for final discussions.