Open Meetings Act

News & Analysis as of

Boards Of Education Beware: Ohio Supreme Court Closes Door On Open Meeting Loopholes

Because public body meetings are required to be open to the public in Ohio, just exactly what constitutes a “meeting” of a public body has long been a matter of some debate, especially as means of communication have expanded...more

Iowa Supreme Court: So-Called “Shuttle Diplomacy” May Violate Open Meeting Law

This is the first part in a three part series exploring important changes to Iowa’s open meeting law. Iowa’s open meeting law seeks to ensure that the basis and reasoning for governmental decisions are easily accessible...more

Open Meetings Act Update: "Informal Meetings;" Remote Participation

A recent Court of Appeals decision regarding Open Meetings Act requirements for "informal meetings" of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, and continued questions about whether members of public bodies can...more

Hutchison v. Shull: Expanding Iowa’s Open Meeting Law (Part 1)

Warren County is governed by a three-member Board of Supervisors. The supervisors asked the Warren County Administrator to assist the Board in their stated goal of improving the efficiency of the county government. To that...more

Health Care Advisory: Georgia Hospitals Can Close the Door on Open Records Requests

In a closely watched case, the Georgia Court of Appeals, in Smith v. Northside Hospital, Inc., affirmed the determination that Northside Hospital—a private, nonprofit corporation—was not required to comply with a request for...more

Bagley-Keene Act Roils State Bar Committees

Today, the California State Bar becomes subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Cal. Gov’t Gov’t Code § 11120 et seq. ). The Bagley-Keene Act generally requires multimember state bodies to provide public notice of...more

The Brown Act – Reminding Local Governments that the Sun Continues to Shine in California

Transparency in government is a staple of American democracy. The Federal Freedom of Information Act and California’s Public Records Act are two examples of laws that are intended to provide transparency for government’s...more

Appellate Court Affirms Circuit Court Reversal of PAC Opinion on OMA Violation

Last year, an Illinois Circuit Court overturned a Public Access Counselor opinion that found that the Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 violated the Open Meetings Act when it voted on the separation...more

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Attorney General Binding Opinions on Open Meetings Issues

In Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. Attorney General of Illinois et al., 2015 IL App (4th) 140941, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld a trial court's reversal of two Illinois Attorney General...more

PAC Actions Offer Guidance on the Scope of the Unduly Burdensome Exception to FOIA

In October, the PAC released a written response to a FOIA request that it denied because it would be unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) of FOIA. 5 ILCS 140/3(g). The request asked for “Public Access Counselor determinations...more

Limitations of Labor Negotiations Exception to Brown Act - Does Not Include Negotiation of a Project Labor Agreement When the...

The labor negotiations exception to the open-meeting requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act does not permit a community college district’s governing board to meet in closed session to discuss the negotiation of a project...more

California Court: School Districts Cannot Prevent Posting of Videos of Open Board Meetings

Our friends over at the EdLawConnectBlog in California published a blog about an interesting case from the Golden State that school leaders from across the country may find interesting. The case addressed whether school...more

Illinois AG Again Rules on Closed-Session Procedures and Personnel Exceptions

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a binding opinion finding that the Knox County Board Finance Committee violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) by improperly going into closed session and discussing...more

Illinois Attorney General Limits "Personnel" Exception Under Open Meetings Act

In Public Access Opinion 15-005, issued on Aug. 4, 2015, the Village Board of the Village of Blue Mound was accused of violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) for going into closed session to consider a contract with...more

Real Estate and Land Use - September 2015

Substance Over Form—A Refreshing Application of CEQA Analysis: City of Irvine v. County of Orange (2015) 283 Cal.App.4th 526 - Why It Matters: The Court of Appeal in City of Irvine v. County of Orange elaborated...more

PAC Finds Village Board in Violation of OMA on Multiple Counts

The PAC recently issued a binding opinion ruling against a local village board for failing to provide proper notice and state a valid exception to enter closed session in violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). In PAC...more

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is...more

DA Finds Digital Serial Meeting Created By Public Official Choosing to “Reply All”

A “reply all” email among public officials has led to a warning from prosecutors about Brown Act violations and serves as a reminder to keep open meeting laws in mind when talking online....more

PAC Rules on Two OMA Cases

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued two non-binding opinions in July related to the Open Meetings Act (OMA). In one opinion, the PAC found that a school district did not violate the OMA when...more

PAC Rules Collective Bargaining Preparatory Meetings are Subject to OMA

In a non-binding opinion, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) held that a school district violated the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when the board’s negotiations team, which included three board members, held a meeting to discuss...more

Updates to Nevada’s Gaming Laws – 2015 Legislative Session (Cont.#2)

Procedural and Administrative Changes and Clarifications - AB40 - A key administrative change effected by AB40 is to change the name of the “State Gaming Control Board” to the “Nevada Gaming Control Board.”...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Addresses Public Records, Closed Session and "Personnel Matters"

In The Times News Publishing Co. v. The Alamance-Burlington Bd. of Education, No. COA15-99 (July 21, 2015), the Court of Appeals considered the intersection between the State's Open Meetings Laws (N.C.G.S. 143-318.9, et seq.)...more

PAC Upholds Board Action: No OMA Violation for Private Emails

In June, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued a non-binding opinion holding that board members of a school district did not violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when partaking in intermittent private email exchanges...more

Gaming Legal News: Volume 8, Number 13

Extending the Reach of Nevada’s Gaming Regulation: SB38, SB40 and SB409 - SB38 - Senate Bill 38 extends the reach of the Board to a new category of licensees, to nightclubs and day clubs that are located on the...more

How to Avoid Brown Act Violations When Discussing Litigation Issues

A nearly $400,000 severance deal struck between Pasadena Community College and its former president was nullified by a judge after determining that the deal was improperly discussed and finalized in closed session. A Los...more

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