BEDFORD — The Lawrence County Council has issued its response to the Open Door complaint filed by Bedford resident Bill Raines. 

The council took a vote to unanimously approve the response during its Nov. 23 meeting.

 The statement was written by county attorney David Smith and has now been sent to the state after the council confirmed its approval. 

"Because the Lawrence County Council had advertised two meetings set to occur back-to-back, they believed proceeding with their regular agenda was a more efficient use of their time and of the members of the public then in attendance," the response notes. "This situation is a one-time occurrence, and is not a custom or habit on its part." 

The county council's full response can be viewed here

The complaint in question alleges that the county council violated Indiana's Open Door Law by beginning a regular session meeting on Oct. 26 earlier than the time that was originally advertised on the agenda.

The state's Open Door Law (Ind. Code 5-14-1.5) is intended to "permit the public access to meetings held by public agencies. When the public has an opportunity to attend and observe meetings, the public may witness government in action and more fully participate in the governmental process."

According to the state's Open Door Law, "Public notice of the date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions or of any rescheduled or reconvened meetings, shall be given at least forty-eight (48) hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) before the meeting."

It was originally passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1977 and most recently amended in 2016.

The Indiana Public Access Counselor is expected to issue a ruling sometime in the next month. 

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