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Open Meetings Opinion Soothes Lawmaker Worries

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A Tennessee legislator says a recent legal opinion from the state’s attorney general has soothed concerns about the state’s open meetings law.  

Republican Representative Tony Shipley says he requested the opinion to clarify that local government officials can meet privately over a meal as long as they don’t decide public business.  Attorney General Bob Cooper cautioned that officials can share meals, but they must avoid deliberating official matters.  The Tennessee County Commissioners Association sought to have the state’s open meeting law changed this year to allow private meetings among officials as long as a quorum isn’t present.  Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he’s receptive to arguments the law is vague, but he says changes are unlikely.

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