A new Tennessee political blog, TennViews, has just started gathering the views and opinions with a progressive stance, and it's one which you should put on your regular reading list. I've also added it to my blogroll.
I hope you take time to go there, and a post from Saturday on the state's open meeting laws from Knox County Commissioner Mark Harmon is a fine place to begin. Late last week, a state legislative committee voted to propose a change in the open meetings laws which sadly makes it far easier for elected officials to gather, deliberate and decide issues in secret.
"Let me state as firmly as I can that the Open Meetings Act DOES NOT need to be weakened by adding a provision that only a quorum can violate it. In the aftermath of the abuses that took place this year in Knox County we should be looking to strengthen the Open Meetings Act, not weaken it."
"The public does not object to commissioners arguing with one another, attempting to persuade one another, and compromising with one another. The public only rightly insists these acts be done in public sessions and meetings.
Your committee has heard vast overstatements that commissioners no longer can talk to one another or cannot attend the same events as district mates. Nonsense. The current act’s prohibition is on deliberation. If commissioners need to deliberate, they can do so in regular or special meetings or properly announced workshops."
Will Tennessee's political leaders take the progressive stand to keep meetings open to the public or we will race backwards to seek dark corners of secrecy?