Electronic Communications and Open Meeting Laws


Many aspects of the revolution in electronic communications fall into the proverb: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Electronic communications may be faster and may make it easier for multiple individuals to communicate, but there are few circumstances in which electronic communications are fundamentally different or present wholly new issues for compliance and enforcement in open meetings.

Notice -

Notice of meetings and providing the agendas can be done electronically with some more convenience but essentially little practical difference from using the mails or posting at the meeting location. Physical posting may be more convenient to the homeless and to those lacking computers, but public libraries typically offer some public access to computers. Physical posting requires everyone to visit the posting location unless the information is picked up in news media.

Notice of meetings has never been perfect for all citizens/residents, and it isn’t perfect with electronic communications. One might say, with a crooked smile, it is “good enough for government work.” The changeover from hand-delivered, mailed or posted notice to electronic notice through websites and e-mail for some kinds of meetings or meetings under some circumstances has occurred with relatively few glitches.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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