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March 25, 2014

N.H. may require meeting agendas to be set 72 hours before meeting

Bill would require agendas to be set 72 hours before meeting

(Continued)

Johnston predicted that if the bill passed, more emergency meetings would be called.

“They would have to rely on it more, and there would be a lot of fights about what constitutes an emergency,” he said. “Is a personnel decision, which is not a life or death situation, really an emergency? There would be a lot of arguments.”

Another issue is that Sundays would not be counted in the 72 hours.

“That makes it essentially 96 hours,” Johnston said.

Fitzgerald said he believed there would be unintended consequences if the bill passed.

“It hurts the government’s ability to be effective and timely,” he said. “The existing law helps us meet the speed of business.”

Fitzgerald said Plaistow typically posts agendas for its selectmen meetings every Friday. The meetings are held on Monday.

“In the information age, there is plenty of opportunity for the public to see exactly what we will be discussing,” he said.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, said the bill was scheduled to be discussed in the full House today.

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