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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 1974)
Bills would alter
public meetings law
By Greg Wees
The public's right to know the business of state
government is the foundation of two bills pending before
the Legislature) according to two state senators.
If either bill passes, then closed meetings of public
agencies will be eliminated, except in certain circumstances.
"The definition of what is public meeting is very
limited under current law. W have to expand this
definition," said Axtell State Sen. Gary Anderson, who
Anderson pointed out that there are still public agencies
in other states which conduct much of their business
behind closed doors.
Even though Nebraska "already has a good law ...
better than most states," Anderson said, "there are abuses
Included in the meetings that were closed, he said, were
the Friday meetings of the Board of Regents.
Contending that these Friday meetings have become
"quite notorious," Anderson said he has talked with NU
students who told him they were not aware of the decisions
reached until Saturday.
However, Regent Ed Schwa rtzkopf of Lincoln said these
meetings had been open to the press for two years and that
reasons exist for not including the public.
The regents, Schwartzkopf said, discuss sensitive matters
at these sessions. Real estate transactions and persons'
reputations are at stake, he said. Premature disclosure of
matters such as these could do more harm tiian good, he
Since their Friday meetings are already open to the
press, he said, the bill would not radically affect the
According to the bill, an executive session which would
exdude the public but include the press, could be called if
real estate transactions are discussed or to prevent needless
injury to a person's reputation. But any final action taken
would have to be announced in a public meeting.
"The press is free to report anything that happens at
these meetings," said Schwartzkopf. "They use their
discretion in selecting appropriate material."
Another,apen .meetings .bill has been introduced by State, ..,
Sen. Jerome Warner of Waverly, who said he had different
reasons for proposing LB630.
Warner said he particularly opposed two "study groups"
appointed by Gov. J. James Exon last year. They were the
closed committees onstateaid-to education and the
ccvnottoaa.4Uuiyi&acauisition of Hiram Scott College .
in Scottsbluff. k
"You have to know the assumptions these study groups
used in reaching their decisions," Warner said.
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Keeping up with national
trends, the ASUN Senate is
planning to "bug" the
A loud speaker, to be
hooked into lite UriiCarPcral's
public address system, will be
installed, in the ASUN office
"as soon as the telephone
company puts it in," according
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cry citr? dx iu
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friday, february 1, 1974
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