Spokane City Council May Have Violated State Law During Anthrax - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane City Council May Have Violated State Law During Anthrax Scare

SPOKANE, Wash.- It's possible, and even likely, that the Spokane City Council violated a state law Monday when they met during an anthrax scare that closed City Hall to the public. Spokane City Hall was closed for a short time Monday after employees found a suspicious white powder on the third floor.

City Hall was locked down police and firefighters evacuated the public for their safety. A Haz-Mat team determined it was non-toxic, part of packaging for a product the city ordered, but the public wasn't allowed back in for the remainder of the afternoon. During that time the city council held their 3:30 afternoon session.

That's a problem because state law stipulates that city council meetings must be open to the public. City spokeswoman Marlene Feist says there was no public testimony and the meeting was carried live on the city's cable station.

The city can close meetings to the public during executive sessions or for unruly behavior, but neither of those instances applied in this case. Also, according to the city, all scheduled votes were moved to the council's evening session which the public was allowed to attend.

This morning there is no word on any legal ramifications from the city's decision to continue with the council meeting without a public presence.

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