A quick open meetings lesson

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) filed a complaint urging that yesterday’s work violated the open meetings law. His e-mail notice wasn’t in his hand two hours prior to the meeting, darn it!

I’m working from memory, but I’m pretty sure a big “awe, shucks” is in order. It’s not when he received notice, it’s when notice is posted. The generally recognized notice location for most governments is a tacky bulletin board at the front of the building. A couple of people go and plunk up the meeting notice and shazaam! It’s all good.

You can darn sure bet in a game where the stakes are so very high at least three people thumbtacked that notice to the cork board.

Besides, whiny boy, an open meetings violation does not invalidate the legislation. At most there would be a little slap on the legislative rump and a threat of open meetings training.

Go ahead. Read the legislation for yourself. (19.81 to 19.98) Here’s the penalty:

19.96 Penalty. Any member of a governmental body who knowingly attends a meeting of such body held in violation of this subchapter, or who, in his or her official capacity, otherwise violates this subchapter by some act or omission shall forfeit without reimbursement not less than $25 nor more than $300 for each such violation. No member of a governmental body is liable under this subchapter on account of his or her attendance at a meeting held in violation of this subchapter if he or she makes or votes in favor of a motion to prevent the violation from occurring, or if, before the violation occurs, his or her votes on all relevant motions were inconsistent with all those circumstances which cause the violation.

Oh, there’s a voidable option down there at 19.97 (3), but all that business about public good and the fact the Attorney General is Replubican? And what would keep this group from doing it exactly the same way?

It’s good TV, but won’t amount to much. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


  1. whats sad here is how little the fine is when elected officials violate open meetings law.

  2. Well, put that on your list of things to do, why don’t you?

  3. There are rule for special sessions, none of them were violated.

  4. Thanks for quoting chapter and verse of the statute.