The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is partnering with the Oklahoma Press Association (OPA) to host seminars on Oklahoma’s Open Meeting and Open Records laws in five locations across the state beginning in September.
The seminars will be presented by Thomas R. Schneider, deputy general counsel to Attorney General Gentner Drummond.
“I am excited to meet with Oklahomans across the state and engage with them on two of the most important laws in the Oklahoma statutes,” Schneider said. “These laws safeguard democracy and preserve integrity in state and local government.”
He will answer questions concerning the state’s open meeting and records laws and inform elected or appointed officials about their responsibility under the acts. Schneider will also discuss requirements on access to public records and the conduct of public meetings.
Drummond has made clear that openness and transparency in government are among his top priorities.
“It is important to establish the standard of transparency to ensure our public officials are acting with honesty and integrity,” he said. “I am thankful for the hardworking individuals in my office who are also dedicated to these principles, and who work tirelessly to educate others about the Open Meeting and Open Records Acts across the state.”
Seminars will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the following locations:
The seminars are free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required.
Continuing education credits are available for attendance. Attorneys will receive three CLE credit hours. New school board members can get three credit hours from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, and new technology center board members can earn three credit hours from the State Department of Career and Technology Education. Law enforcement officials are eligible to receive three credit hours from the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
For more information, visit www.okpress.com/seminars or call OPA at 1-888-815-2672.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announced that Denver Nicks has been named the Local Legal Initiative attorney for Oklahoma. He succeeds Kathryn Gardner.
The Local Legal Initiative provides local news organizations with the direct legal services they need to pursue enterprise and investigative stories in their communities.
Nicks was most recently an associate attorney at Barnes Law in Tulsa, and before that a longtime journalist. He holds a J.D. from Tulane University Law School.
Since its launch in 2020, the Oklahoma Local Legal Initiative has had a significant impact on government transparency and accountability. Earlier this year, for example, Reporters Committee attorneys successfully sued the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Kevin Clardy on behalf of the McCurtain Gazette for records related to the death of a Choctaw Nation citizen following a violent encounter with local law enforcement. The lawsuit resulted in the release of bodycam footage and other requested records; it was also featured in a New Yorker story about the McCurtain Gazette’s efforts to investigate the local sheriff’s office.
“Over the last five decades, the Reporters Committee has shown how legal support makes a meaningful difference in empowering journalists to pursue the kinds of reporting that informs communities, inspires accountability, and underpins our democracy,” said Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Also joining RCFP are attorneys Mara Gassman and Elizabeth Soja. Reporting to RCFP Deputy Executive Director and Legal Director Katie Townsend, Gassmann will lead the organization’s robust amicus practice. Townsend welcomed the three new members to RCFP’s growing legal team.
“Their experience and passion for this important work will help us continue to meet the clear and pressing legal needs of journalists and newsrooms across the country, particularly those in local communities,” Townsend said.
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