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Mon February 28, 2011
Open meetings bill killed in Wyo Senate
By Bob Beck
Cheyenne, Wyo. – The State Senate has killed a bill intended to enhance Wyoming's open meetings law, which has been rated as one of the worst in the country, in terms of transparency.
The controversial portion of the bill required the recording of closed meetings, known as executive sessions. Those session can be held for discussions of legal and personnel matters and the purchase of land.
But some Senators opposed the bill on the grounds that it would have required cities, counties and some smaller boards and commissions to purchase recording equipment.
Senator Leland Christensen, a former Teton County Commissioner, embraced the bill saying that it would help focus discussion in closed meetings. But Senator Hank Coe had a different view. "We don't need this bill right now," he said. "This is a mandate and this is unfunded. It maybe deserves some interim topic, but I think right now this is absolutely -- and I've been done here a long time -- one of the worst bills I've ever seen."
Senator Dan Dockstader sponsored the bill, and says it was intended to make government more accountable to the public.