Bluegrass Institute: 2018 revision to Open Meetings Law — A misstep in the right direction

One day before the now famous Senate effort to quietly undermine Kentucky’s Open Records Law by redefining the term “public record” to exclude “emails, texts or calls on devices paid for entirely with private funds and which do not involve government email accounts,” efforts were underway in the House to modify the Open Meetings Law as well.

Unlike the Senate amendment to HB 302HB 592 appears to have been well intended. Unfortunately, it was ill conceived.

Kentucky has had a problem since Skype was introduced in the early 2000s. Public officials who were unable to attend in person the public meetings of the agencies they served assumed that they could use Skype to participate in those meetings from remote locations.

Unlike remote telephone participation – which did not satisfy the public’s right to see and hear all members who participated in a public meeting and was therefore rejected by the attorney general – members skyping in from vacations spots, hospitals, and in one case, the Middle East (to which a city official had been deployed), could Skype in and continue to serve their agencies remotely. Their constituents could both see and hear them. Read more…