After taking over enforcement of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law last year, Attorney General Martha Coakley launched a portion of her website devoted to the new law,www.mass.gov/ago/openmeetings, and later began posting the determinations issued by her office in response to complaints under the law.
Now that site has taken a major step forward in usability by adding an OML Determination Lookup feature. Before, you could only browse determinations by name of case. That told you nothing about the issue involved in the case. Now, the site lets you search for key terms or phrases or by actions ordered. You can also search by city or town, county, or public body.
Something extraordinary happened today on the editorial pages of Massachusetts daily newspapers. More than 20 of the state’s newspapers agreed to jointly run an editorial endorsing reforms to the public records and open meetings laws that would help bring about increased government transparency.
The editorials came about with the support (non-financial) of the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, the New England First Amendment Coalition, the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association and the New England Newspaper & Press Association, all of whom endorse these reforms.
Here are links to the editorials in the participating papers:
The Open Meeting Law Advisory Commission is slated to meet Thursday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m., 100 Cambridge St., 2nd Floor, Conference Room A, Boston.
Here is the notice of meeting and agenda: OMLAC Notice of Meeting 09-08-11. The meeting is open to the public.
(The MNPA is one of the members of the five-member OMLAC.)
The Attorney General will hold a public hearing tomorrow, Sept. 6, on proposed regulations that would allow members of public boards and commissions to participate in meetings remotely under certain circumstances.
The proposed regs would allow a member to participate remotely only for:
- Personal illness.
- Personal disability.
- Military service.
- Geographic distance.
The regs would require that a quorum be physically present at the meeting location and that remote participants be clearly audible to everyone in attendance at the meeting location.
The public hearing on the proposed regs is 4 to 6 p.m. and will be held at One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Boston. You can obtain a PDF of the proposed regulations here: Request for Comment on Proposed Regulations.