School board members must take open government training
School board members will have to undergo at least one hour of training in the state's Open Records and Meeting laws, under a bill signed Wednesday by Gov. Mary Fallin.
Senate Bill 91, which takes effect July 1, had passed the House last week by a 93-2 vote.
Opposing the bill were two Democrats: Minority Caucus Chair Jerry McPeak of Warner, who is a former school board member, and Rebecca Hamilton of Oklahoma City.
The bill, by Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, amends current training requirements for school board members that must be completed within 15 months of being elected, re-elected or appointed.
Otherwise, the school board member must vacate the seat and cannot be reappointed or re-elected for three to five years, depending upon how many members serve on the school board. (Okla. Stat. tit. 70, 5-110(C))
That's an important difference from the open government training requirement for newly elected municipal officials. That statute requires the training to be completed in their first year of office or they "shall cease to hold the office." However, it doesn't explicitly prohibit them from being reappointed once the training is completed. (OKLA. STAT. tit. 11, § 8-114(E))
In December, Kiowa trustees reinstated a former trustee who had been forced to resign because he hadn't taken the training.
Joey Senat, Ph.D.
OSU School of Media & Strategic Communications
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the commentators and do not necessarily represent the position of FOI Oklahoma Inc., its staff, or its board of directors. Differing interpretations of open government law and policy are welcome.