Newscoma Has Moved
Monday, February 20, 2006
  Laws Designed For People, Not Just Reporters The Sunshine Law is something that we reporters hold on to with a clenched, angry fist and that most everyone else disdains (or loves if it suits their own personal agenda.) A couple of years ago, batesville usa and I participated with a study with the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government to see how difficult obtaining open records were to get. TCOG, headed by Frank Gibson who incidentally is from Weakley County orignially, is lobbying hard to get the Law updated, as it has set untouched for 32 years. The Jackson Sun has the latest on the organization's efforts. I don't think that a fifty dollar fine will eliminate violations of the Sunshine Law, however, I do think it's a start. The big issue right now is not so much political meetings as much as meeting with organization that impact public policy, such as utility boards, MTAS and TML. By being VERY clear with the language of updates to the law, this could at least help. One thing, and this is very important. The Sunshine Law and Open Records laws are not designed to help out the "liberal" media pick on politicians. That's a misconception. It's designed for regular folks to be able to get what they need, and that's important. Anyone should be able to attend meetings and obtain public records. Anyone, doesn't matter who you are. 
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