In an effort to eliminate illegally closed meetings by governments along the Wasatch Front, Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart has begun distributing wallet-sized copies of the state's open-meetings act.

He said Monday the copies will be distributed to all city governments and boards within the county's jurisdiction.Stewart said open meetings are essential and fundamental in a democracy. "We need to keep that fundamental very much in mind," he said.

Ironically, members of the news media often have complained that the Salt Lake County Commission periodically violates the law. In May, county attorneys and commissioners met to discuss staging events at the new basketball arena that Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller is constructing. Reporters were ushered out of the meeting under the rationale the discussion could be kept from the public because of attorney-client privilege.

The law does not list attorney-client privilege as a reason for legitimately closing a meeting.