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Council To Hear Open Meetings Bill, Similar Measure Failed In 2006

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By Peter Granitz

The D.C. Council will again take up a measure that would require all official meetings be open to the public. A similar bill failed to pass in 2006.

The bill would apply to the council, but also other public bodies, like the Public Charter School Board and the Authorities on Sports and Water and Sewers. It would not apply to D.C. Courts or the Mayor’s cabinet.

Ed Lazere directs the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute and says the Council needs to adopt the measure, especially after last summer, when it unanimously voted to cut services and raise taxes to ease the District’s budget woes.

"It was a 13-0 vote," says Lazere. "The bill had to be brought up for a vote in public, but none of the major issues-like what revenue to increase or what programs to cut-none of that was discussed in the public meeting where the vote was held."

Council member Muriel Bowser will introduce the bill tomorrow, but it is unclear how far it will go. It needs to pass both the Committee on Government and the entire council.

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