Some days it seems like there must not be one sentence in the sunshine law that isn't ripe for abuse. A few days ago, I got a call from a reporter talking about tricks being pulled by her city council. It appear they are sending out notices of meetings for 7 p.m. at night, and posting those notices for the public several days in advance, and then at the last minute, right before the 24-hour deadline to post such notices, they are revising the meeting notice and changing the time of the meeting to a much earlier time, for example, 9 a.m., when members of the public who work cannot attend the meeting.
Why would they do this? Well, of course, it's because they have decided to take up a controversial subject that they know will involve substantial public interest and they have decided that by moving the meeting time, they can avoid the scrutiny that might otherwise be forthcoming at this open meeting.
Sure, they can amend a meeting notice this way, I have to admit. So long as it's posted within the 24-hour prior to the meeting deadline, there's nothing wrong with such actions. But to move your meeting time around at the last minute to avoid public accountability certainly seems childish.
Last session, there were some industry associations seeking to change the notice requirement from 24 hours to 72 hours. Perhaps making a change like that might reduce this kind of gamesmanship. Or maybe these children just need to grow up and learn to be accountable to the citizens who elected them to begin with.