Nevada Open Meeting Law Violations Targeted

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Nevada Attorney General Brian Sandoval says he'll seek legislation next year to give his office more authority to punish repeated violations of the state's open meeting law, including civil financial penalties.

A recent finding by his office of a violation of the law by the state's university and community college regents made clear the need for more options, Sandoval said.

"We would like better options and more remedies we can seek, particularly with regard to willful and repeated violations of the law," he said Wednesday.

Sandoval's comments came the same day as a request by former Community College of Southern Nevada President Ron Remington, who wants a judge to block discussion of him at next Thursday's regents meeting, in part to prevent future violations of the open meeting law.

Kathy England, Remington's attorney, filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the closed personnel session.

England argued that Remington has "tried to obtain the information to be considered and has been unable to do so. Now, even immediate compliance with these requests would leave him inadequate time to prepare his defense to whatever has been and will be presented."

England said her client has yet to receive a transcript of a 17-hour meeting in November that led to his demotion as well as the demotion of lobbyist John Cummings. A lawsuit filed by Sandoval against the regents seeks only to nullify the November session.

Sandoval concluded in a Jan. 15 opinion that regents broke the law by taking action in closed session, forming a consensus during closed session and failing to provide adequate notice to persons under consideration for disciplinary action.

Sandoval said he has discussed the need for a bill with Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, who is chairman of the Legislative Commission.

Townsend said he's willing to consider having the commission draft such a measure. He added the panel also will decide when it meets on Feb. 18 how to proceed with an inquiry into the demotions of Remington and Cummings.