Charles County Commissioners Vote Down Legislation Preventing Discussion of Closed Session Issues

A November 20 Gazette.Net article reported that Charles County commissioners have voted down by 3-2 a proposed bill that would have prohibited them from revealing information from closed sessions.  Commissioners violating the provisions of the bill would have been subject to censure.  From the  article:

Given that it was his request that initially led to the bill’s proposal, Commissioner Bobby Rucci’s (D) decisive vote to deny the legislation surprised some of his colleagues, as well as several citizens in the audience.  …

“I didn’t invent this bill. I asked what we can talk about and what we can’t talk about, and this is what came about,” he said. “I don’t care about this bill. I just want to know what we can do and what we can’t do. After leaving closed session, people are coming out and talking about it. I asked the attorneys, are you allowed to do that? That is how this came about.”

The article explained Rucci switched against his own legislation in order to allow the incoming set of commissioners to decide the issue.  Joining Rucci in voting against the bill were Commissioner Ken Robinson and Commission President Candice Quinn Kelly.

Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) repeated his previous arguments against the bill. He noted the “difference between closed session and confidential information,” offering the example of congressmen who routinely hold closed meetings only to exit the conference room and field questions from the press.

The article noted that Commissioners Debra Davis and Board Vice President Reuben Collins II supported the legislation.

Board Vice President Reuben B. Collins II (D) said the legislation was intended to protect any individuals discussed during closed session, not “to try and create an avenue for the commissioners to out other commissioners.”

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