News & Analysis as of

Open Meetings Act

Email Discussions May Be Next: Mississippi Supreme Court Declares Closed-Door “Non-Quorum” Meetings Illegal

The Mississippi Open Meetings Act provides that “the formation and determination of public policy is public business and shall be conducted in open meetings.” Notwithstanding this command, some public boards in Mississippi...more

Two New PAC Opinions Provide Clarification to School Districts on Meeting Agendas and Redacting Information from FOIA Responses

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

Recently, the Illinois Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued two opinions – one advisory and one binding – that reiterate the requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)....more

The PAC Strictly Interprets the “Probable or Imminent Litigation” Exception for Closed Session

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

Recently, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued a rare binding opinion finding that the City Council of Bloomington violated the Open Meetings Act when it held a closed meeting to discuss potential litigation that the PAC...more

Use Caution when Monitoring Comments on Your School’s Social Media Page

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

Public schools should be cautious as to how they moderate access to and comments on their social media profiles. In Packingham v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court recently recognized that the Internet, and particularly...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules on Appleton School District Open Meetings Law

by Ruder Ware on

In a unanimous and much-anticipated decision released today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that a committee of school personnel formed to review materials for a high school course under a procedure set forth in school...more

Illinois Attorney General Limits "Probable or Imminent Litigation" Exception Under Open Meetings Act For Closed Sessions

by Holland & Knight LLP on

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a binding opinion concerning action taken by the City of Bloomington City Council. The binding opinion further limits the attorney general's interpretation of the Illinois...more

WA Supreme Court Narrows Executive Session Real Estate Deliberations

by Perkins Coie on

The Washington Supreme Court significantly narrowed the ability of public agencies to discuss real estate deliberations in executive session. In a ruling on June 8, 2017, the court held that the Open Public Meetings Act...more

Attorney General’s Office Finds School Board Held Improper Discussion in Closed Session

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

The Attorney General’s Office recently issued a non-binding opinion concluding that a board of education improperly discussed matters in closed session that were not within the scope of the exceptions on which the board...more

PAC Finds Library Board’s General Description of Action Item Complies with OMA

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

Government bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act (OMA) sometimes struggle to strike the right balance between too much and too little detail contained in their published Board meeting agendas. A recent advisory opinion from...more

IL Supreme Court Interprets OMA Requirement for Public Recital Prior to Final Action

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

The Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed the decisions of the lower courts, which had overturned a Public Access Counselor opinion, in Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. the Attorney General of...more

The Final Four Binding PAC Opinions of 2016 Remind School Districts of FOIA and OMA Requirements

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

In the final days of the year, the Illinois Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued four binding opinions that reiterate the requirements of both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA). Below is a...more

The Ethics Advisor: Good Governance Floats on a Sea of Integrity

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

“In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics,” the late Earl Warren, who served as a U.S. Supreme Court chief justice and as California attorney general and governor, stated in a 1962 speech. In a closely related sense,...more

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

Like years past, there were plenty of laws passed in Sacramento in 2016 that will impact public agencies. Here is a summary of those that have specific importance to your work. We hope that you will contact us for further...more

Court Rules that Final Board Action Requires a Public Recital that Includes the Key Terms of an Action Item

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

In a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, the Court held that a public body was in violation of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) where the public body failed to include the key terms in its public recital approving two action...more

Court of Appeals Holds Email Deliberations Among a “Quorum" of a Public Body Violates the Open Meetings Act

by Miller Canfield on

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that email deliberations among a quorum of public body members violates the Open Meetings Act. The Nov. 1, 2016, unpublished opinion was issued by a three-judge panel in the case of...more

PAC Ruling Further Clarifies Impermissible Restrictions on Public Comment

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

One of the most legally perilous jobs of a school board is to preside over the public participation portion of a meeting. The key for a board is to balance its need to run efficient and orderly meetings with the ability of...more

Attorney General (PAC) Deems RIF Joint Committee for Teacher Placement Subject to OMA

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

The Public Access Counselor (PAC) division of the Attorney General’s Office recently held that the reduction in force joint committee (the “Joint Committee”) was subject to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA)....more

2016 Legislative Update: Summary of Changes in School Law

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

BOARDS OF EDUCATION - ENFORCEMENT OF BINDING PUBLIC ACCESS COUNSELOR OPINIONS - Public Act 99-586 - Effective Date: January 1, 2017 - Individuals who file lawsuits to enforce binding opinions from the PAC...more

Points & Authorities - Summer 2016

by Buchalter on

There Ought to be a Law: Consider This Alternative To Litigation - Government is becoming more intrusive. At the state and federal levels, a host of agencies and departments continuously create new rules for us to live...more

Massachusetts Church Alleges Solar Panel Denial Violates Religious Freedom

A Massachusetts Superior Court is soon to consider the interplay of three important planning principles – historic preservation, sustainable development, and freedom of religion. A Unitarian Universalist church is suing the...more

Defend Trade Secrets Act — Implications for Private Funds

On May 11, 2016, the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) became law. The DTSA provides trade-secret protections on the federal level that are similar to those available through the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA)...more

Changes to the Open Meetings Act Allow Inspection of Closed Session Records

by Franczek Radelet P.C. on

Effective June 30, 2016, the Open Meetings Act (OMA) has been amended to allow elected board members, or those appointed to fill vacancies on the board, to access closed session recordings and minutes. Access must be granted...more

Court Clarifies the Cease & Desist Requirement Prior to Initiating Brown Act Litigation

by Best Best & Krieger LLP on

City’s Loss Illustrates Risks of Litigating Open Meeting Law Violation Claims - In 2012 the California Legislature amended the judicial remedies aspect of the Brown Act “Opening Meetings” Law. That amendment added...more

Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA: More Interesting Cases From The FOIC (Part One)

Dropping thermometers did not diminish the heated action occurring before Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. It should also go without saying that the accompanying snow, ice and other perils of winter...more

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

by Fisher Phillips on

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

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