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Meeting law forum focuses on changes


December 19, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Town officials received a primer on the recent changes to the state's revised Open Meeting Law at a Town Hall forum Wednesday, Dec. 15. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Sclarsic gave the presentation, noting that the changes have raised a good many questions on the local level.

Those changes, which have been in effect since July 1, are largely related to the Attorney General's role as the singular enforcement agency for the laws of open meetings and the increase of notification for meeting notices.

The Open Meeting Law, Sclarsic said, now governs all public bodies —multi-member boards, commissions or subcommittees.

"One of the biggest changes to the Open Meeting Law [is that it] now allows the Attorney General's office to take remedial action against public bodies," said Sclarisc. "That allows us to enforce these laws that the public is now more aware of."

Exceptions involve the state Legislature and its committees, bodies of the judicial branch, bodies created by a constitutional officer solely to advise the officer and bodies that don't serve as a public purpose.

The law now dictates that, except in an emergency, a public body must post notice of meetings at least 48 hours in advance, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. Previously, notices could be posted on a Saturday.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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