With 54 positive votes, the House today endorsed a crippling of the Freedom of Information Act by allowing secrecy in local government when dealing with economic development prospects.

HB 1280 not only allows city and county government boards to meet in private to cut deals, it also allows lawyers into executive sessions for the first time.

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There are ample ways for corporations to deal privately in exploring site locations. Corporate welfare is, as I wrote before, a losing game for cities and counties anyway. The handouts are rarely decisive and the secret deal-making means people will know about the deals only when it is too late. Yes, a decision must be ratified in public session, but without any of the information that went into that decision.

It was particularly disheartening to see some nominally decent legislators vote for this bill.

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The bill goes to the Senate, which is no longer a backstop for bad legislation but a trendsetter.

 

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