Our Opinion: Go to a public meeting in your bathrobeby Tucson Citizen on Oct. 21, 2008, under Opinion
Arizona’s Open Meetings Law is keeping up with the times, thanks to Attorney General Terry Goddard.
In a recent formal opinion, Goddard said it is OK for members of a public body to engage in online discussions and deliberations.
But Goddard made it clear that the public still must have access to the discussions. And elected officials are not allowed to vote online.
Arizona’s Open Meetings Law is a model of simplicity and clarity. It reads:
“All meetings of any public body shall be public meetings and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings. All legal action of public bodies shall occur during a public meeting.”
In giving his approval for online discussions, Goddard said it must be possible for people to log on and watch the proceedings. And there must be alternatives for people who don’t have computers.
If people can sit at their home computer or at a computer in a nearby library and know what their elected officials are doing, it could increase public involvement and knowledge.