The door to local government meetings could be closing and more government records could be kept private.

While they say they support government transparency, several state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow public bodies to conduct business in secret and withhold certain information from the public — or make the public wait longer to receive it.

One bill would dramatically scale back the state's Open Meeting Law so the public could only attend gatherings of school boards, city councils, county supervisors, the Legislature and other public bodies if "action is taken." Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen, of Snowflake, introduced Senate Bill 1435; 13 other lawmakers co-sponsored it.

Chris Moeser, an attorney for The Republic, said the bill would "gut" the Open Meeting Law.

"It really doesn't allow the public to see what happens," Moeser said. "It basically allows everything to be done in a back room without public review."


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