MA Attorney General Wants to Toughen State’s Open Meeting Law

May 15, 2012

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley wants to toughen the state’s open meeting law. WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

Coakley on Monday proposed a new regulation that would allow state and local governmental bodies to be punished if they act with "deliberate ignorance" of the law, which requires most meetings to be accessible to the public.

Under current regulations, public entities can be fined up to $1,000 for violating the law, but only if the violation is found to be intentional after a previous warning from a court or prosecutor.

While Coakley's proposal would no longer allow ignorance of the law to be used as an excuse in all cases, it would not assess penalties if members of a governmental body acted in good faith and were "reasonably mistaken" about the requirements of the law.

Paul Tuthill, WAMC News.