7:09am

Wed January 18, 2012
Speaker Harwell Convinces Casada to Drop Bill

No Changes to Tenn. Sunshine Laws This Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — House Speaker Beth Harwell is voicing opposition to efforts to water down Tennessee's open meetings laws. She’s calling on a Republican colleague to drop a bill that seeks to make changes to the current rules.

Spokeswoman Kara Owen said in an email yesterday that Harwell doesn’t support efforts to allow members of local governments to meet behind closed doors as long as a quorum isn't present.

Owen says Harwell has spoken to Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin and that Casada agreed not to pursue the bill this year.

Harwell joins Republican Gov. Bill Haslam in opposing the measure. Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville says he's against weakening open government laws, but agrees with proponents that some of the current open meetings rules are too restrictive.