U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, has introduced legislation to require TVA board meetings to be open to the public.
The current law governing the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which was created by Congress in 1933, requires it to have four meetings a year. But there is no provision requiring that meetings be open to the public, nor that minutes of meetings be publicly available.
Burchett’s legislation would require the board and subcommittees of the board to hold their meetings in public, provide public notice of its meetings no fewer than six days before the meeting, and make publicly available the minutes and summaries of its meetings.
TVA now chooses whether to allow the public in board meetings
Currently, the TVA Board chooses which meetings it allows the public to attend as well as whether it will provide any minutes or summaries of meetings to the public. Despite being a government body created by Congress, and its members confirmed by the U.S. Senate, there is no requirement that deliberations of its full board or subcommittees be open to the public.
“Both in the state legislature and as mayor I focused on increasing openness and transparency in government, and this bill continues those efforts at the federal level,” Burchett said in a press release.
Burchett said that while he understands “that TVA has reasons for not wanting to open all meetings to the public, as an entity created and protected by Congress, the public deserves to know the Authority’s business is as open and transparent as possible.”
The bill is Burchett’s first as a freshman Congressman. It likely will be assigned to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.