Monday, July 05, 2004

Senate OKs bill opening meetings ; Law school board prepared for public forum next month

Copyright (c) 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 5, 2004

Senate OKs bill opening meetings ; Law school board prepared for public forum next month, chairman says

Of The Patriot-News

The Dickinson School of Law's board is prepared to meet in public next month, if required, to decide whether to split the school into two campuses, board chairman LeRoy Zimmerman said. It appears that state law will require it.

The state Senate yesterday passed a House-amended bill by a 50-0 vote that more narrowly defined the type of "agency" that must hold public meetings to apply to the law school.

The bill goes to Gov. Ed Rendell, who has indicated he will sign it into law.

Zimmerman branded the legislation "bad public policy" that he didn't think was "appropriate or called for." Still, he said the law school board would abide by the law.

The bill was crafted to limit the requirement to the law school board's meetings without legally specifying the institution or board, at Penn State's request. It won unanimous support in the House on Saturday.

Sen. Harold Mowery, R-Cumberland, who sponsored the bill, said he was pleased the law passed and voiced his hope that it could help "keep all of the law school in Carlisle."

The board is weighing a proposal to renovate Trickett Hall, the law school's home, and build a larger law school facility at Penn State's University Park campus in State College.

That idea arose out of a board meeting held last month behind closed doors. It was proposed as an alternative to either keeping the entire school in Carlisle or relocating it to State College.

The Patriot-News and The Sentinel of Carlisle have been battling in court with the law school's board to force the meetings to be held in the open, or "sunshine." The newspapers filed a lawsuit in Cumberland County Court and won, but that decision was overturned in April by the Commonwealth Court. The case is pending before the state Supreme Court.

No comments: