AG rules in favor of Levisa Lazer in complaint against Lawrence Fiscal Court violating OM law
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has ruled in favor of Mark Grayson and the Levisa Lazer, after requesting an opinion on whether the Lawrence Fiscal Court violated the Kentucky Open Meetings Law.
At issue, according to Grayson, was the fiscal court not notifying the online newspaper of any special meetings, even though it had written requests on file to be notified of such meetings.
In summary, the Attorney General’s office stated:
“The Lawrence County Fiscal Court (“the Fiscal Court”) violated the Open Meetings Act (“the Act”) when it failed to issue a written response to a complaint within three business days. The Fiscal Court also violated the Act when it failed to send notice of a special meeting to a media organization that had filed a written request to receive such notices under KRS 61.823(4).
“Under KRS 61.823(4)(a), prior to a special meeting, “[a]s soon as possible, written notice shall be delivered personally, transmitted by facsimile machine, or mailed to . . . each media organization which has filed a written request, including a mailing address, to receive notice of special meetings. The notice shall be calculated so that it shall be received at least twenty-four (24) hours before the special meeting.” This notice requirement may be satisfied by email when the media organization states a preference to be notified by email. KRS 61.823(4)(b). The Appellant claims it did not receive notice of the Fiscal Court’s special meetings held on June 29 and July 6, 2023, despite its prior written request to receive such notices. In its response to the appeal, the Fiscal Court does not deny the Appellant’s allegations, but merely states that, “[i]n an effort to conform to the statutory requirements of [the Act], a formal notice of special meetings will be sent to the [Appellant] from this point forward.” As the Fiscal Court has not contested the alleged violations, the Office finds it violated the Act by failing to notify the Appellant of the two special meetings in question.
“The Fiscal Court claims the Appellant’s representative attended the special meetings, but the Appellant disputes this claim. Regardless, the issue is whether the Fiscal Court sent the required written notice to the Appellant, not whether the Appellant was represented at the meetings.”
The Appellant is a media organization that has requested notice of special meetings pursuant to KRS 61.823(4). As a remedy for the alleged violations, the Appellant requested the Fiscal Court to ensure the Appellant received notice of special meetings in the future. Having received no response to its complaint, the Appellant initiated this appeal on July 27, 2023.
The Opinion was written by James Herrick, Assistant Attorney General.