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Vox Hawkeye A Study in the Intellectual Call for Open Government (and How One State Heeded It)
Unformatted Document Text:  intent . . . (for it) would be a guide in judicial interpretation of the law, and such preambles are found in the statutes of many states,” Hawaii’s being one such example. 66 Beyond this, Strentz also stressed that “(m)ore than a glowing preamble is needed, however.” 67 Strentz explained this stance by noting that “I make this statement particularly with regard to that part of Chapter 28A (28A.3) which notes that a public meeting can be closed for ‘some other exceptional reason so compelling as to override the general public policy in favor of public meetings.’” 68 Noting that this particular statutory proviso had come to be dubbed the “’catch-all’ phrase,” he concluded that with such a safety valve as this, in effect, “the Iowa Open Meetings Law can become a Closed Meetings Law,” and he advocated its removal. 69 Citing that the notice for the subcommittee meeting asked participants to submit comments as to “what should constitute a ‘meeting,’” Strentz proposed that the “current law is inadequate” in providing a workable definition and offered the definition “under consideration by the Open Meetings Committee of the FOI Council”: Meeting means the convening of a governmental body in order to make a decision or deliberate toward a decision upon a matter, regardless of where the meeting is held and whether formal or informal. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a chance or social meeting of two or more members of a public body to be considered a public meeting, but no such chance meetings, informal assemblages or electronic communications shall be used to decide or deliberate public business in circumvention of the spirit or requirements of this act.” 70 In closing his remarks at the hearing, Strentz admitted there was ambivalence within the FOI Council with regard to the nature and extent of the law and the restrictions it was to place on public officials. Specifically, he stipulates that “(w)ithin the FOI Council there is support for a blanket open meetings law to require that all meetings be open to the public, as is the case in Tennessee, and there is 66 Ibid. 67 Ibid. 68 Ibid. 69 Ibid. 70 Ibid.

Authors: stepanek, steve.
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intent . . . (for it) would be a guide in judicial interpretation of the law, and such preambles are found in 
the statutes of many states,” Hawaii’s being one such example.
  Beyond this, Strentz also stressed that 
“(m)ore than a glowing preamble is needed, however.
Strentz explained this stance by noting that “I make this statement particularly with regard to that 
part of Chapter 28A (28A.3) which notes that a public meeting can be closed for ‘some other exceptional 
reason so compelling as to override the general public policy in favor of public meetings.’”
  Noting that 
this particular statutory proviso had come to be dubbed the “’catch-all’ phrase,” he concluded that with 
such a safety valve as this, in effect, “the Iowa Open Meetings Law can become a Closed Meetings Law,” 
and he advocated its removal.
Citing that the notice for the subcommittee meeting asked participants to submit comments as to 
“what should constitute a ‘meeting,’” Strentz proposed that the “current law is inadequate” in providing a 
workable definition and offered the definition “under consideration by the Open Meetings Committee of 
the FOI  Council”:
Meeting means the convening of a governmental body in order to make a decision or deliberate  
toward a decision upon a matter, regardless of where the meeting is held and whether formal or  
informal.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a chance or social meeting of two 
or   more   members  of   a   public   body  to  be   considered  a   public   meeting,   but   no  such  chance 
meetings,   informal   assemblages   or   electronic   communications   shall   be   used   to   decide   or 
deliberate public business in circumvention of the spirit or requirements of this act.
  
In closing his remarks at the hearing, Strentz admitted there was ambivalence within the FOI 
Council with regard to the nature and extent of the law and the restrictions it was to place on public 
officials.  Specifically, he stipulates that “(w)ithin the FOI Council there is support for a blanket open 
meetings law to require that all meetings be open to the public, as is the case in Tennessee, and there is 
66
 Ibid.
67
 Ibid.
68
 Ibid.
69
 Ibid.
70
 Ibid.


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