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AZ House committee passes bill exempting Legislature from open meetings laws

A state House Committee has passed a bill to shield the Legislature from open meetings laws.

This bill comes a year after members exempted themselves from some public records laws.

The bill goes on to mandate all public bodies provide an opportunity for in-person public comment. It also requires those bodies to provide 48, instead of 24, hours notice before public meetings. 

But it exempts the Legislature from being held to those requirements. 

Rep. Tim Dunn, a Yuma Republican, voted in favor of the bill.

“Courts ruled that the Legislature has internal rules, so the statute doesn’t apply. We can’t be sued over it. Basically we have more strict rules than most public bodies, so we are under different, higher standards," Dunn said. 

Mesa Republican Barbara Parker introduced the bill, citing a Supreme Court decision that says the House and Senate creates its own rules regarding open public meetings. 

"The Legislature has adopted its own rules governing open public meetings. This is a codification of what the Supreme Court has said we have to do in the Puente decision," parker said.

The bill passed by a 6-3 vote. 

Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.