News Releases

March 16, 2012

Secretary of State Jim Condos Posts 1973 Open Meeting Law Testimony During Sunshine Week

In recognition of Sunshine Week, Secretary of State Jim Condos announced that the Vermont State Archives and Record Administration (VSARA) has posted 1973 legislative testimony that gives insights into Vermont’s open meeting laws. Secretary Condos notes that the online presentation is timely as the general assembly is considering S. 67 to amend the open meeting law.

“The 1973 testimony contains interesting parallels with the current deliberations on open meetings,” Condos said. “Almost 40 years ago legislators, reporters, and citizens grappled with how open government should be; whether there were some government discussions that should not be public; and whether open meeting requirements should be equally applied at the State and municipal levels.”

Secretary Condos believes the 1973 discussions underscore the need not only to constantly reexamine our open government mandates, but also to understand the contexts that gave shape to those laws.

Condos said, “New realities, including new expectations and technologies, require frequent re-examinations of how we practice our right to know. In the 1973 debate, for example, there was a passing reference to how the telephone might affect open meeting requirements; today we wonder how to recognize the opportunities of rapidly evolving communication technologies without diminishing a citizen’s right to know what public policy discussions are occurring. It is for these reasons I think posting the 1973 dialogues is an appropriate part of our Sunshine Week observances.”

The Secretary of State’s Office is uniquely positioned to contribute to open government. VSARA, for example, is working with many state agencies to effectively manage their public records to improve our use of information and our ability to respond to public record requests. In addition to records management, VSARA is continually seeking ways to improve access to its archival holdings so we can better understand the action and evolution of government.

The 1973 debate is at http://vermont-archives.org/research/spotlight/records.htm.

Secretary Condos states, “Open and transparent government is good government! Vermont’s citizens deserve accountability in their government. Let the sun shine in and on our government!”

Jim Condos is Vermont’s Secretary of State.

Source: Secretary of State
Last Updated at: March 16, 2012 13:57:06