Dorchester council approves public notice change
ST. GEORGE — While the audience rumbled contentiously over the right to discharge weapons, Dorchester County Council on Monday quietly protected the people’s right to know.
With little fanfare, council approved an ordinance revision that bars its members from adding items to an agenda in the course of a meeting.
Casual agenda additions have been a common practice for any number of local government councils. The S.C. Court of Appeals ruled them illegal in a recent case.
Council made the change in response to the court ruling, said Chairman Larry Hargett.
The move was one of those little tweaks with big ramifications: keeping a public body acting in the open.
But it wasn’t much noticed in a council chambers filled with National Rifle Association-affiliated gun owners and anti-regulation group representatives who argued that it would violate their rights if council approved a proposed public-safety law banning the discharge of weapons within 500 feet of a public road in residential areas. That measure was voted down.
S.C. Press Association attorney Jay Bender said adding to the agenda was struck down “because somebody finally challenged it in court. I applaud a council recognizing the law is the law. So many councils proceed as they always have and hope nobody challenges it.”
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