Casada Tries Again to Amend State's Open Meetings Law

Mar 25, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —  An effort is under way again this legislative session to change Tennessee's Open Meetings Law.

Local officials complain the current law is so restrictive, they can’t even get together for a barbecue. Some officials say they’d like to be able to meet in small groups as long as a quorum isn’t present.

Frank Gibson directs the Tennessee Open Meetings Association. He says the current law doesn’t need to be changed, officials just need to be educated about its requirements.

“The entire county commission could go to Cracker Barrel and eat breakfast. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with them talking to each other. It’s when they meet in small groups and deliberate, and don’t give any notice that are going to be deliberating.”

State Rep. Glen Casada has a proposal on the issue scheduled for a subcommittee hearing tomorrow. He says he filed the bill at the request of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association, but told them they'd have to find the right language.

“We’ve gotta’ come up with something that everybody kind of agrees with, and here we are at the eleventh hour and we still don’t have something that everybody agrees with. So I don’t know what we’re gonna’ happen tomorrow to be honest with you.”

Rep. Casada, a Franklin Republican, offered a similar bill last year, but withdrew it from consideration.