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DAILY NEWS APPEALS DECISION ON SUNSHINE LAW

The Virgin Islands Daily News has appealed a Territorial Court decision and is asking the Appellate Division of the District Court to bar the Senate from holding closed-door caucuses.
During Wednesday's hearing in District Court, Adriane Dudley, who represents the Daily News, said that holding closed-door caucuses cut the public off from valuable information.
"The press can't get in and the public doesn't know what happened," Dudley said.
In a ruling issued last September, Judge Brenda Hollar said that only standing committees, special committees and meetings of the entire Legislature must be open to the public.
The newspaper is arguing that majority members of the 22nd Legislature violated the Sunshine Act when they failed to admit Daily News reporter Lynda Lohr to a meeting at the Westin Hotel on St. John last year.
"We are not trying to upset the political applecart, we just want to get the news," Dudley said.
In addition to protesting the closed nature of the caucuses, held to deliberate on the fiscal year 1999 budget, non-majority members challenged the appropriateness of gathering at a fancy resort to discuss budget cuts.
According to the V.I. Code, the Sunshine Act entitles the public "to the fullest practicable information regarding the decision-making processes of this government." The act covers the Legislature and "all of its standing and special committees."
Because the Legislature is an agency under the Sunshine Act, the Daily News is arguing that the public must be admitted to future caucuses.
Hollar ruled that the St. John meetings could not be considered meetings as classified under the Sunshine Act. She said that the Revised Organic Act requires all legislative sessions to be held in Charlotte Amalie. In her ruling, Hollar also noted that there was no indication that the standing or special committees, based on their definition under the Sunshine Act, were meeting.
Judges Thomas K. Moore, Edgar Ross and Stanley Brotman, via video hook-up, presided over Wednesday's hearing.

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The Virgin Islands Daily News has appealed a Territorial Court decision and is asking the Appellate Division of the District Court to bar the Senate from holding closed-door caucuses.
During Wednesday's hearing in District Court, Adriane Dudley, who represents the Daily News, said that holding closed-door caucuses cut the public off from valuable information.
"The press can't get in and the public doesn't know what happened," Dudley said.
In a ruling issued last September, Judge Brenda Hollar said that only standing committees, special committees and meetings of the entire Legislature must be open to the public.
The newspaper is arguing that majority members of the 22nd Legislature violated the Sunshine Act when they failed to admit Daily News reporter Lynda Lohr to a meeting at the Westin Hotel on St. John last year.
"We are not trying to upset the political applecart, we just want to get the news," Dudley said.
In addition to protesting the closed nature of the caucuses, held to deliberate on the fiscal year 1999 budget, non-majority members challenged the appropriateness of gathering at a fancy resort to discuss budget cuts.
According to the V.I. Code, the Sunshine Act entitles the public "to the fullest practicable information regarding the decision-making processes of this government." The act covers the Legislature and "all of its standing and special committees."
Because the Legislature is an agency under the Sunshine Act, the Daily News is arguing that the public must be admitted to future caucuses.
Hollar ruled that the St. John meetings could not be considered meetings as classified under the Sunshine Act. She said that the Revised Organic Act requires all legislative sessions to be held in Charlotte Amalie. In her ruling, Hollar also noted that there was no indication that the standing or special committees, based on their definition under the Sunshine Act, were meeting.
Judges Thomas K. Moore, Edgar Ross and Stanley Brotman, via video hook-up, presided over Wednesday's hearing.