Groups trying to overturn ruling that open meeting law doesn’t apply to Legislature

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

A coalition of rights groups and their members is trying to overturn a trial judge’s ruling which essentially says that the Arizona Legislature is subject to the state’s Open Meeting Law that it adopted only when it chooses to do so — and people can’t sue over violations.

Attorneys with the Peoples Law Firm want the Arizona Court of Appeals to rule that Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Mikitish erred when he concluded it really doesn’t matter if a quorum of any legislative committee attends meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council. That organization, funded largely by corporate interests, serves as a clearinghouse of sorts for proposed changes in state laws across the nation, changes that can wind up being formally adopted by legislators here.

But Mikitish, in a seven-page ruling, said it appears to be legally irrelevant even if there is a quorum of any given committee, even if there are enough people who then could actually formally approve a change in state law once they got back to the Capitol. He said that’s not for courts to decide.

The issue, according to the plaintiffs, is more than academic.


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January 2021