Sustained Outrage

Secret meetings, Dec. 3, 2010

Only one meeting in today’s issue of The State Register violated the public notice requirements of West Virginia’s open meetings law.

The agency responsible? The Department of Commerce’s training board.

We missed doing our rundown last week, but that edition of The State Register contained no meetings that violated the public notice requirements.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Updating media rules for courts

Interesting read in today’s Boston Globe about efforts by Massachusetts’ high court to modernize its rules governing media in the courtroom.

While courts in Massachusetts currently allow only two cameras in a legal proceeding — one for television broadcasts, one for print media — the new rules propose allowing a third for web outlets.

The article continues:

The court is also seeking to strike a balance between journalism in the 21st century and security concerns in criminal trials that have already led to a ban of cellphones, especially those with cameras, in courthouses statewide.

Even with the new rules, judges still have the authority to ban cameras in certain circumstances. Also, journalists would still be barred from recording jurors at all times during a trial, whether it is a civil or criminal matter.

The rules would allow journalists to use laptop computers and other electronic devices while court is in session, provided it is not disruptive.

Before a person can head into a courtroom with a camera, they must first register with the court’s Public Information Office and also be required to show they qualify as journalists under a new definition worked out by a special media-court panel.

In a summary released yesterday, the court said “the news media would be defined as those who are regularly engaged in the reporting and publishing of news or information about matters of public interest.’’

Ah, “disruptive.” It’s all in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Or up to the person wearing the black robe.

Secret meetings, Nov. 19, 2010

Today’s issue of The State Register lists four meetings that violated the public notice requirements of West Virginia’s open meetings law.

Two meetings involved the Information Technology Council, whose meetings took place Wednesday, but did not appear in the Register until this morning. Two others involved the Region 8 Planning and Development Council, whose meetings took place yesterday, but didn’t appear in the Register until today.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Secret meetings, November 12, 2010

Today’s issue of The State Register contains two meetings that violated the public notice requirements of the West Virginia open meetings law.

The agencies involved were the Workforce Investment Board and the GOHELP (Governor’s Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning) advisory committee.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Secret meetings, Nov. 5, 2010

Except for Governor-to-be Earl Ray Tomblin’s news media blackout, it’s been a pretty good week for open government in West Virginia.

Today’s issue of The State Register lists only one meeting that violated the public notice provisions of West Virginia’s open meetings law. The agency involved: The advisory board of the West Virginia Poison Center.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

WVDEP sets meeting to discuss water quality rules

The state Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a meeting for tomorrow afternoon to discuss possible changes in federal water quality standards being considered by the Obama administration.

Topics will include changes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering in its water quality standards rules concerning antidegradation implementation methods, EPA approval of state standards, designated uses of streams, variances and triennial reviews of state standards. EPA is also considering changes in response to some litigation, including rules governing compliance schedules for companies to meet permit limits.

EPA outlined the issues it is looking at in this Federal Register notice. EPA previously held public “listening sessions” about this proposals, and there is information from those sessions — including a briefing document — available online here.

The WVDEP public meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 4) at the agency’s headquarters out in Charleston’s Kanawha City neighborhood.

Secret meetings, Oct. 29, 2010

Today’s issue of The State Register contains two meetings that violated the public notice requirements of the West Virginia open meetings law.

The agencies involved were the Recruitment and Retention Committee of the West Virginia University Board of Governors and the Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Committee of the Bureau for Medical Services.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Secret meetings, Oct. 22, 2010

It was a pretty good week for open government in West Virginia. None of the meetings listed in this week’s edition of The State Register violated the public notice requirements of our open meetings law.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Secret meetings, Oct. 15, 2010

Today’s issue of West Virginia’s State Register includes three meetings that violated the public notice requirements of the state open meetings law.

Two of the meetings involved subcommittees of the state’s Broadband Deployment Council … both meetings occurred on Wednesday, but weren’t noticed to the public in the Register until today. The other meeting was of a committee of the West Virginia University Hospitals board.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.

Secret meetings, Oct. 8, 2010

If it weren’t for the news that Marshall University was keeping separate campus crime logs — one with information about a recent alleged sexual assault and another without that information — this would have been a pretty good week for open government in West Virginia.

Today’s issue of The State Register contains no meetings that violated the public notice requirements of West Virginia’s open meetings law.

As we’ve reminded folks before, the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act requires agencies to send meeting notices to the Secretary of State in time for notices to appear in the State Register five days prior to a scheduled meeting. Every week, we list the agencies that didn’t comply, thanks to the Secretary of State’s office, which kindly marks those agencies with an asterisk in the list of meetings published each Friday in the Register.