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Audio recordings may soon be available for government meetings

SHARE Audio recordings may soon be available for government meetings

The general public may soon have the ability to lend a listening ear to all government meetings, even ones they don't attend.

SB143 requires that all open and public meetings, as deemed so by the Public Open Meetings Act, retain audio recordings of all proceedings in addition to official documented minutes kept. The bill proposes those recordings be archived for six months following the meeting.

Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said the bill is mostly about "openness" and access to public meetings. He said citizens who don't attend meetings should have access to what went on and to the things that were actually said.

"Citizens should be able to challenge what goes on," Jenkins said. "In some small community meetings, feelings run really high."

Several citizens testified to the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee Friday, saying that local meetings are poorly attended and the requirement of recording them would actually help increase attendance.

The bill passed on a three-two vote and is to be heard on the Senate floor.