Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act shouldn't be used as a weapon to shut down discussion [editorial]

As Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, pointed out, however, the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act prohibits public officials from deliberating with each other on actions that are not on a meeting agenda, but it doesn't prevent individual elected officials from addressing a question from the public or members of the press.

"What they shouldn't be doing is using the Sunshine Act for obscuring or creating barriers to access," Melewsky said.

We are strongly in favor of local elected officials paying close attention to the letter — and spirit — of the Sunshine Act. But, as Melewsky suggested, it shouldn't be wielded as a weapon to shut down public comments.

The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association website offers an excellent primer on the law.

Everyone — the county commissioners included — should read it.


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