ACLU of Maine Statement on Piscataquis County Commissioners' Deliberate Violation of Maine's Open Meeting Law

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
January 20, 2021 10:15 am

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Piscataquis County Commissioners violated Maine’s open meeting law when they wrote and adopted a resolution in secret. The resolution, which contains misinformation about the coronavirus, called on Governor Mills to end pandemic restrictions put in place to curb the spread of a deadly virus.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the commissioners went on to silence voices critical of the resolution who attended the commissioners’ meeting over Zoom yesterday, and blocked more than 100 people attending the meeting over Zoom from hearing the proceeding.

The following can be attributed to Emma Bond, legal director at the ACLU of Maine:

“The government is accountable to the people. Open meeting rules safeguard this principle. The Piscataquis County Commissioners deliberately violated the Maine Freedom of Access Act and struck at the core value of public oversight of government action when they passed a resolution in secret, silenced critical voices, and blocked remote attendees from hearing the proceedings.

“Maine law requires that any person be able to attend a public meeting of local or state government. This requirement did not evaporate with pandemic restrictions, when lawmakers modified the Freedom of Access Act to allow remote meetings.”

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