AARP Rep Joining State Comptroller’s ‘Sunshine’ Committee for Open Govt.

Press Release from AARP Tennessee, July 2, 2010:

Governor signs bill adding AARP representative to Open Government Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — AARP will help bring “Sunshine” into Tennessee by joining a group that advises government agencies on provisions of the law requiring them to conduct business publicly.

Gov. Phil Bredesen signed legislation this week adding an AARP representative to the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Open Government. The committee works under the Comptroller’s Office of Open Records Counsel, which advises agencies on the state “Sunshine Law.” The law says in part that “the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.”

Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open government, said he was pleased that lawmakers agreed to add a representative of AARP, a non-partisan membership organization representing more than 600,000 50+ Tennesseans.

“Tennessee’s open records and public meetings laws were enacted to provide the transparency citizens need to participate in the operation of their government,” Gibson said. “It’s appropriate that the legislature recognized that by adding AARP to represent that public interest on the Advisory Committee.”

Comptroller Justin Wilson will choose someone for the four-year term from three names that will be submitted. “AARP believes it is important for all Tennesseans to see, hear, and understand the work of our elected officials. We are honored to join the League of Women Voters and Common Cause in representing the interests of citizens across this state on this important committee,” said AARP Tennessee Advocacy Director Patrick Willard.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville and Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro, was approved unanimously last month. It also adds representatives from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Police Chiefs Association and the Sheriffs Association, expanding the committee to 14 members.