Using the telephone to make public policy decisions would be prohibited if Sen. Bev Gard, R-Greenfield, has her way. The Greenfield City Council, or at least five of its seven members, decided to change the proposed city budget that had been published for public review. In a series of telephone meetings to one another, five council members decided to make a change. Two others were unaware any changes had been made. Gard would like to protect the open meetings law so elected officials cannot circumvent it through a series of phone calls.

Update (3/10/04): The bill died, but Sen. Beverly Gard submitted Senate Resolution 36, which requests a summer interim legislative committee look into the impact of communications technology on the state’s Open Door Law and Access to Public Records Act. That resolution was approved by the Senate. Whether the request will be carried out will be up to the Legislative Council, made up of the Senate and House leadership.

Update (2/12/04): The bill will not recieve a hearing during this legislative session.

Update (1/24/04): The bill has not yet received a hearing in the Senate Governmental Affairs & Interstate Cooperation Committee.