WASB Testifies in Support of Modernizing Minutes Bill—AB 70

IMG_0040The WASB spoke out in support of a bill (Assembly Bill 70) to eliminate a legislative mandate that certain school boards pay to publish the proceedings of their board meetings in the local newspaper at a public hearing held Wednesday.

Dan Rossmiller, WASB Government Relations Director, and Brett Hyde, Vice-President of the Muskego-Norway School Board, were among those speaking in favor of Assembly Bill 70. Mr. Hyde also serves as a WASB Regional Director from Region 11 and is currently the WASB’s 2nd Vice President.

An identical Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 42 has been scheduled for a public hearing (see notice) in the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government on Tuesday, March 14, at 10:00 a.m. in Room  330 Southwest, State Capitol.

Board ProceedingsThe WASB initiated this bill in response to WASB Resolution 1.60, Elimination/Reduction of Newspaper Notice/Publishing Requirements, adopted at the WASB 2016 Delegate Assembly.

In testimony, Rossmiller explained that current law regarding the publication of board meeting proceedings is confusing and inconsistent because it imposes a mandate on some, but not all, districts to pay for newspaper publication. Whether a school district is required to pay to publish the proceedings of its board meetings currently depends solely on whether a newspaper is published in the district. If no newspaper is published in the district, the proceedings may be publicized as the school board directs.

Assembly Bill 70 extends this discretion to all school boards. Rather than the state Legislature dictating how certain school boards must disseminate their meeting minutes, the bill would allow individual school boards to choose the method that best meets local circumstances in terms of both cost to taxpayers and effectiveness in reaching those interested in the actions of the board.

Nothing in the bill would require school districts to discontinue their current practice of paying to publish copies of their proceedings in their local newspaper. Even if AB 70 becomes law, a school district would be free to continue to pay to publish its board proceedings in the local newspaper or in another paper.

View WASB talking points on AB 70 here.

View WASB’s written testimony here.