Panel Votes To Weaken Tennessee Open Meetings Law

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A subcommittee given the job of improving Tennessee's Open Meeting Act is recommending more secrecy.

The panel voted 7-2 yesterday to allow more government business to be done behind closed doors by changing what constitutes a meeting.

Current law says that's any policy discussion by two or more members of a local government panel.

The subcommittee voted to change that, so discussions could take place privately as long as a quorum wasn't present.

A judge last month threw a dozen elected officials in Knoxville out of their jobs because they were hand-picked behind closed doors.

The so-called "Sunshine Law" applies to public bodies like schools boards and city and county councils. The General Assembly -- which approved it -- exempted itself.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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