Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dickinson bill sent to House ; Open law school meetings sought

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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dickinson bill sent to House ; Open law school meetings sought

Of The Patriot-News

A bill requiring The Dickinson School of Law to open its board meetings to the public is a step closer to becoming state law. If approved, the bill would require the Carlisle-based law school to open its Aug. 15 board meeting to the public.

At that meeting, the law school board is expected to decide whether to operate campuses in Carlisle and State College.

The House State Government Committee yesterday moved a bill that would amend the state's Sunshine, or open-meetings, law to apply specifically to Dickinson.

The House may take up the bill for consideration this week, said House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Harold Mowery, R-Cumberland, passed the Senate last week by a 50-0 vote.

Rep. Will Gabig, R-Carlisle, who will champion the bill on the House floor, said lawmakers are racing against the clock. The Legislature is expected to adjourn for the summer by week's end.

The law school is affiliated with Penn State University, but the Dickinson board has argued that it can meet in private because it is partly independent of Penn State.

"I don't know if it's the best thing for the school at this point and whether or not the spirit of Sunshine was intended for boards such as ours," said law school board member Jason Kutalakis. "However, the wisdom of the General Assembly has obviously spoken and ... I am prepared to abide by the four corners of the Sunshine Act if passed by the House and enacted by the governor into law."

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