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Executive sessions

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Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

This list represents common reasons to call executive sessions. Many states have additional exemptions, and most states formulate their exemptions in unique ways. For more information, please consult the next tab. Personal Privacy (Including Employees): This includes exemptions for employee discipline, hiring, firing, promotions and any other exemptions concerning individuals including students, hospital patrons and others where the release of the information would violate a reasonable right to privacy.

Attoreny-Client Privilege/Litigation: This category includes all exemptions for situations involving attorney-client privilege and other exemptions for pending litigation strategy.

Security/Police Information: This includes direct security exemptions to protect infrastructure as well as police-related exemptions to protect police officers, undercover agents, informants and police tactics and investigations.

Purchase or Sale of Property: This includes all exemptions that protect the discussion of the pending sale or purchase of real property.

Union Negotiations: This protects labor negotiations including collective bargaining meetings and meetings about collective bargaining tactics.

Licensing Exams/Decisions: This protects discussions of extending or revoking a state-issued license as well as discussions about licensing examinations.

Exempt under other laws: This usually includes exemptions for the state open records law and any applicable federal laws but may be broadly written to include any other applicable state laws as well.

" Personal Privacy Attorney-Client Priviledge Security Property Labor Negotiations Licensing Other Laws
Hawaii Sunshine Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Idaho Open Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Illinois Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Indiana Open Door Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Iowa Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Kansas Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Kentucky Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Louisiana Open Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Maine Open Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Maryland Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Massachusetts Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Michigan Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Minnesota Open Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Mississippi Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Missouri Sunshine Law for open meetings Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Montana Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Nebraska Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Nevada Open Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
New Hampshire Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
New Mexico Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
New York Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
North Carolina Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
North Dakota Open Meetings Statute Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Ohio Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Oklahoma Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Oregon Public Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Pennsylvania Sunshine Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Rhode Island Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
South Carolina Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
South Dakota Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Tennessee Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Texas Open Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Utah Open and Public Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Vermont Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Virginia Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Washington Open Public Meetings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Wisconsin Open Meetings Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
Wyoming Public Meeting Law Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp Yes.pngp
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2. See also

3. External links

WikiFOIA
Find your State
Sunshine Laws
Open Records laws
Open Meetings Laws
How to Make Records Requests
Sunshine Legislation
2010
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Litigation
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Nuances
Private Agencies, Public Dollars
Deliberative Process Exemption

Executive sessions:

Hawaii Sunshine Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

A board can hold a meeting closed to the public after taking an affirmative 2/3 vote of present members at an open meeting, where they must announce the purpose of the closed meeting. This is only possible if the affirmative vote constitutes a majority of all board members. A meeting closed to the public must be limited to the following matters:

  • To consider personal information for applicants and employees
  • Labor negotiations
  • To consult with attorneys
  • To investigate criminal misconduct
  • When discussing sfety matters
  • When discussing private donations
  • To discuss information exempt by federal law[1]

Limited meetings

The act permits public bodies to call close meetings if they deem that the location of the meeting is not safe to open the meeting up to the public. The board must elect to hold a limited meeting with a 2/3 vote at an open meeting. It must announce the limited meeting and records the entire meeting. The recording must be made available to the public. The board is not permitted to make any decisions at the meeting.[1]

Idaho Open Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions must be convened from a regular open meeting and must be voted in by a 2/3 majority. Executive sessions can only be called for the following reasons:

  • Hiring, discipline and termination of public employees
  • Labor negotiations
  • To consider records that are exempt under the Idaho Public Records Act
  • To protect trade secrets where the governing body is in economic competition
  • For cases involving the attorney-client privilege when the public agency expects or is currently under pending litigation.
  • These boards may convene at executive session at any time:
  • commission of pardons and parole
  • sexual offender classification board
  • custody review board of the Idaho department of juvenile corrections
  • To communicate with the agencies insurance risk managers

The act prevents decisions from being made in executive sessions.

Illinois Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

No final action may be taken during an executive sessions. A public body can hold closed executive session with a majority of vote for the following reasons:

  • The appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity.
  • Negotiating matters such as salary, the buying or selling of public land, the buying or selling of security or investment contracts, anything related to individual students that would harm if publicly disclosed, selection of a person to fill a vacancy in a public office when the body has that power, sensitive evidence from a pending case, matters related to the Prisoner Review Board, informant sources, deliberations of the State Emergency Medical Services Disciplinary Review Board, complaints of discrimination, discussing electricity or natural gas contracts, and security procedures.
  • Sensitive material related to pending litigation
  • The establishment of reserves or settlement of claims if it would prejudiced if publicly disclosed.
  • Professional ethics or performance when considered by an advisory body appointed to advise a licensing or regulatory agency on matters germane to the advisory body's field of competence.
  • Self evaluation when a statewide entity is present.
  • The recruitment, credentialing, discipline or formal peer review of physicians or other health care professionals for a hospital, or other institution providing medical care, that is operated by the public body.
  • Discussion of confidential matters, of meeting minutes for approval by the body or semi‑annual review, and of applications received under the Experimental Organ Transplantation Procedures Act.
  • Meetings where a team would be determining assault or wrongful death at a residential health care facility.[1]

Periodically, a public body must convene and determine if the material and minutes of executive sessions still required confidentiality. If not, the public body is obligated to open those records to the public.[1]

Indiana Open Door Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Final action cannot be taken at an executive sessions. Executive sessions may be held for the following reasons:

  • permitted by federal or state statute
  • Collective bargaining strategy
  • Litigation strategy and the attorney client privilege
  • security discussions
  • purchase or sale of property
  • industrial or commercial prospects
  • Interviewing potential employees or considering their application files
  • To discuss complaints and discipline of current employees
  • To discuss records exempted under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act
  • To train school board members
  • To prepare or grade licensing examinations[1]<

Iowa Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

No final action can be taken during a closed session. The act requires that detailed minutes and a audio recording be taken of every executive session, for the purposes of trial discovery in the instance that the executive session is questioned. A governmental body may hold an executive session, with a 2/3 vote of the body, to discuss the following topics:

  • records exempted under the Iowa Open Records Law
  • Patent applications
  • litigation strategy and items that fall under attorney-client privilege
  • licensing examinations and applications
  • student hearings
  • current law enforcement investigations
  • when considering hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting public employees in order to protect the character of the individuals
  • the purchase or sale of real estate[1]

Kansas Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

The act allows for government agencies to recess into closed session with a vote by a majority of the members of the body present. The body may recess but must reconvene in open session after the closed session. No final action can be taken in an executive session. Executive closed sessions can be held for the following reasons:

  • to discuss personal information of non-elected individuals
  • attorney-client privilege consultation
  • Labor negotiations
  • when discussing trade secrets
  • matters relating to students or patients at state institutions
  • property acquisitions
  • boards dealing with Parimutuel Racing may convene in private sessions
  • when discussing minors
  • meetings of the child-death review board
  • meetings of the workers compensation council
  • meetings of the drug utilization review board
  • tribal state gaming pact meetings
  • security matters
  • Child Care Licensing hearings
  • certain meetings of the Kansas insurance inspector generals office[1]

Kentucky Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions can be called by a majority vote of the public body in an open session. No final action can be taken at an executive session.[1] Closed meetings can be held for the following reasons:

  • Kentucky Parole Board deliberations
  • when considering sale or purchase of property when publicity would affect the value
  • pending litigation strategy and attorney-client privilege
  • Grand and petit jury sessions;
  • Collective bargaining negotiations
  • Discussions of the appointment, discipline, or dismissal of an individual employee, member, or student. The individual however, may request a public trial.
  • Discussions with commercial prospects
  • State and local cabinet meetings and executive cabinet meetings;
  • Committees of the General Assembly other than standing committees;
  • Deliberations of judicial or quasi-judicial bodies when the individual being discussed is not part of any governmental agency. This exemption does not include any meetings of planning commissions, zoning commissions, or boards of adjustment.
  • Meetings exempted by federal or other state laws
  • Meetings which the Constitution provides shall be held in secret
  • Meetings discussing records exempt under the Kentucky Open Records Act[2]

Louisiana Open Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

A public agency may hold an executive session with a 2/3 vote of the board members present. Executive sessions are limited to the following topics:

  • Discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical/mental health of an individual.The individual must be contacted 24 hours in advance and may wave the right of executive sessions. This exemption does not apply to discussions of the character of an individual who is to be appointed to a position by the public body.
  • Collective bargaining strategy or litigation strategy, especially with regard to matters that fall under attorney-client privilege
  • Security information
  • allegations of employee misconduct
  • Cases of major disaster
  • Meetings of the State Mineral Board
  • Discussions between a school board and individual students, parents, and/or tutors. THe individuals involved may request a public meeting
  • Any other matters now provided for or may be provided for by the legislature.

The state legislature may also convene executive sessions for the following reasons:

  • discussing confidential communication
  • Discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical/mental health of an individual who is being considered for appointment approval or employment
  • investigations conducted by the legislature
  • discussion of the internal operations of either house
  • any other exemptions provided for by the rules of the legislature

Maine Open Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called with a 3/5 vote of the members present. No final decision can occur within an executive session. Executive sessions can only be called for the following reasons:

  • discussion of employment, promotion, evauluation, discipline or resignation of an individual regarding public employment if:
  • if open discussion would violate a persons right to privacy
  • the person is present, if they desire
  • the person has not requested that the hearing be conducted in open meetings
  • the person who has brought any allegations against an individual is permitted to be present
  • discussions of a school board considering the expulsion of a student, provided that the parents and legal counsel of the student are present.
  • The purchase or sale of property
  • Labor negotiations
  • information that falls under the attorney-client privilege
  • when discussing records exempted by the Maine Freedom of Access Act
  • discussions of license examinations
  • discussions of pending litigation within the district court[1]

Maryland Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

Public bodies may meet in closed session, with a majority vote from the members present, for the following reasons:

  • Personnel matters that include, among other things, discussions of employment, termination, complaints, and promotion
  • Protect individual privacy, when not related to public business
  • when considering the purchase or sale of properties
  • business proposals
  • investment and marketing of public funds
  • Attorney-client privilege and consultations on pending litigation
  • collective bargaining
  • to discuss security measures
  • to discuss and administer licensing and qualifying exams
  • conducting investigations on criminal misconduct
  • comply with a judicial order
  • Bid proposal strategy[1]

Massachusetts Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

The act allows for public bodies to convene executive sessions with a majority vote within an open meeting. Executive sessions may be held for the following purposes:

  • To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health of an individual, when not considering professional competencies. The board must contact this person prior to the meeting, and that person may request an open meeting.
  • To hear complaints and consider discipline of public employees, assuming that the public employees have not waived their right to a closed session by requesting an open meeting.
  • collective bargaining strategy
  • security information
  • allegations of criminal misconduct or to file complaints
  • when considering purchasing or selling real estate[1]

Local bodies have the additional exemptions:

  • to consider applicants
  • to meet or confer with a mediator
  • to discuss trade secrets[2]

Michigan Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called by a 2/3 vote of the public body for the following reasons:

  • discipline and complaints of public employees
  • discipline of a student
  • collective bargaining negotiations
  • purchase or sale of property
  • Attorney-client confidentiality with regard to pending litigation
  • applications
  • single party caucuses of the state legislature
  • to consider records exempt by the Michigan Freedom of Information Act or federal law
  • reviewing applicants for university presidents[1]

Minnesota Open Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

Public agencies may close a meeting to discuss the following subjects:

  • performance evaluations
  • attorney-client privilege material
  • security information
  • to discuss the purchase, sale, or appraisal of property
  • Public property discussions must be recorded and the record preserved for 8 years. The record must be released after all transactions are complete

All activity within executive sessions must be approved within open sessions.[1]

Classified date

Meetings must be closed to discuss the following data:

  • data revealing victims of sexual or physical crimes and domestic abuse
  • active investigation data
  • health, medical, student and welfare data
  • medical records
  • charges against public employees

Labor negotiations

Any public body may convene an executive session to discuss strategies for labor negotiations. The list of all individuals attending the meeting must be made available to the public immediately after the meeting. The meeting must be recorded and any record of the meeting must be released upon the completion of the negotiation. Records must be kept for two years after the contract is signed. The court may also examine these records to determine if a violation of this law occurred.[2]

Mississippi Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

All public bodies may convene executive sessions with a 3/5 vote of those members present. Executive sessions can be held for the following reasons:

  • business and discussions relating to the job performance or character of a public employee
  • Litigation strategy and information that would fall under the attorney-client privilege
  • discussion of security matters
  • investigations
  • bodies within the Legislature for any reason
  • when dealing with information that could cause harm to an individual or property
  • discussing the purchase or sale of land
  • discussions with students or parents of students
  • test preparation for licensing examinations
  • discussions of the relocation or expansion of a business
  • line item budget items that result in the termination of an employee
  • discussing records exempt under the Mississippi Public Records Act[1]

Missouri Sunshine Law for open meetings

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions require a majority vote of the members of a public body. Executive sessions can be called for the following reasons:

  • To discuss potential or pending litigation including all material that would fall under the attorney-client privilege, until the litigation is concluded
  • purchase or sale of property until the contract is completed
  • hiring firing or discipline of a public employee
  • Any decisions arrived at under this exception must be posted within 72 hours with a complete roll call vote
  • State militia or national guard may convene in closed session at any time
  • Nonjudicial mental or physical health hearings
  • hearings related to students
  • discussion of testing and examination materials
  • welfare cases
  • labor negotiations
  • software information, specifically access codes
  • preliminary discussions of bid specifications
  • sealed bids, until opened
  • applicant information and the names of donors
  • discussing records protected by the Missouri Sunshine Law
  • discussion of scientific or technological information in order to protect trade secrets
  • discussion of criminal and abuse hot-lines
  • communication with the public agencies auditor
  • when discussing terrorist or emergency response protocols
  • when discussing security information
  • when discussing computer and electronic security information
  • to protect information about electronic transactions such as security codes, credit card numbers, etc.[1]

Montana Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

The act permits the chairperson to close an open session for a number of reasons, including:

  • To discuss matters of a personal nature, assuming the individual in question has not waived his right to privacy
  • for materials associated with the attorney-client privilege, in order to discuss pending litigation, this exemption does not apply to litigation between public agencies
  • Courts may close meetings for judicial deliberations[1]

Nebraska Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

As of February 12, 1992, the Attorney General mandated that those committees of faculty, administration and students that the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska created to advise the Chancellor of the University in his administrative and management duties, with respect to budget cuts, were part of the management structure of the University. This means the meetings of these advisory committees are not public bodies subject to the open meetings statutes.[1]

Any public body may convene a close session to either protect public interest or the personal information of an individual. A closed session requires a majority vote by the members of the board present at the meeting. The public body must return to open sessions before taking any actions or votes. Executive sessions can be called for the following reasons, but are not limited to these reasons:

  • collective bargaining strategy and litigation strategy, especially with regard to material that would fall under the attorney client privilege
  • Security information
  • criminal misconduct investigations
  • job performance evaluations[2]

Nevada Open Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

A public body may hold a closed meeting with a majority vote for only the following reasons:

  • "To consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person," assuming that the person has not waived his right to a closed session[1]
  • This does not apply to elected or appointed officials
  • To discuss examination materials
  • To consider an appeal by a person of the results of an examination

This chapter does not prevent the removal of disruptive individuals, the exclusion of witnesses during other witnesses testimony or require any meetings to be closed.[1]

New Hampshire Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

Executive sessions can be called by a majority vote to discuss the following topics:

  • dismissal, promotion or compensation of public employees including investigations and disciplinary hearings assuming that the individual in question has not requested an open meeting
  • hiring discussions
  • matters that would adversely affect the reputation of an individual
  • sale or purchase of property
  • information that would fall under attorney-client privilege exemptions concerning pending litigation
  • applications for the adult parole board
  • security information
  • to protect trade secrets of applicants[1]

Decisions made during executive session require a 2/3 vote and must be made public within 72 hours of the close of the meeting.[1]

New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

The public body may hold closed executive sessions with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • any information which is exempt under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act or any other state or federal statute
  • any matter that would impair the ability to receive federal funds
  • any disclosure that would result in an unwarranted invasion of privacy
  • Collective bargaining information
  • discussions of the purchase or sale of property
  • security information
  • discussions of pending or anticipated litigation that would fall under the attorney client privilege
  • matters involving employment or termination of employees, including disciplinary hearings unless the individual requests a public meeting
  • licensing or permit discussions, including the assessment of civil penalties[1]

New Mexico Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

Public bodies may hold closed meetings in executive session with a majority vote within an open meeting for the following reasons:

  • meetings relating to licensing
  • personal matters related to hiring, promotion, discipline and dismissal
  • when acting in a quasi-judicial capacity
  • when discussing personally identifiable student information
  • collective bargaining strategy and negotiation
  • discussions of purchases of single items exceeding $2500
  • information subject to attorney-client privilege concerning pending litigation
  • discussion of the purchase or sale of property
  • meetings of public hospitals that would release important trade secrets
  • information exempt under the Gaming Control Act[1]

New York Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

An executive session may be called by a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • matters which would harm public safety
  • information that would disclose law enforcement agents and informants
  • investigation information
  • litigation discussions, including any material that would fall under attorney-client privilege
  • collective negotiations
  • personal information, including medical and credit history when being used within discussions of employment, promotion, discipline or removal
  • preparation or grading of exams
  • sale or purchase of property

No final action can be taken during an executive session.[1]

North Carolina Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions can be called by a majority vote in an open meeting for the following purposes:

  • to prevent disclosure of information exempt under the North Carolina Public Records Law and federal statutes
  • to prevent premature disclosure of honorary awards and degrees
  • for any exemption associated with the attorney-client privilege
  • to discuss the location or expansion of local industries
  • contract negotiation planning with regard to employees and business contracts with the public body
  • to consider qualifications, performance or character of an employee or potential employee or to consider disciplinary complaints of public employees
  • for investigations of alleged misconduct
  • to develop emergency response plans for school violence
  • to discuss public safety and security measures[1]

North Dakota Open Meetings Statute

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive closed sessions can be held with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • Anything falling within the attorney-client privilege, until the completion of the trial and appeal process
  • to discuss records exempt under the North Dakota Open Records Statute
  • to sequester bidders in a closed bidding session

An audio recording of all executive sessions must be maintained and released for judicial purposes. No final action can be taken during an executive session and the topics of the executive session are limited to the reasons provided for calling the executive session.[1]

Ohio Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Public bodies my call closed executive sessions with a majority roll call vote for the following reasons:

  • to consider matters relating to public employees, specifically employment, discipline and complaints unless the employee requests a public hearing
  • to consider the purchase or sale of property
  • matters that fall under the attorney-client privilege
  • labor negotiations
  • discussing information that is exempt under the Ohio Open Records Law or federal statute
  • security information
  • to consider hospital trade secrets[1]

Oklahoma Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called by a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • discussions of employment, promotion, and disciplining of a public employee
  • labor negotiations
  • purchase or appraisal of properties
  • attorney-client privilege concerning pending litigation
  • Board of Education discussions of student discipline
  • discussing matters involving handicapped children
  • Any matter which is exempt under the Oklahoma Open Records Act or federal statute

The following boards may hold executive sessions at any time:

  • The State Banking Board
  • The Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority
  • The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority
  • The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
  • The Oklahoma Savings and Loan Board
  • The Oklahoma Health Resource Committee, to discuss research and development of products
  • Review Committees to propose changes in neighborhood renewal and economic development
  • The Child Death Review Board
  • All nonprofit foundations
  • The Oklahoma Indigent Defense System Board, in order to further contract negotiations with public defenders

No final action may be taken during an executive session, unless compelled to by federal law.[1]

Oregon Public Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Governing bodies may hold executive sessions for the following reasons:

  • to consider employment
  • dismissal or disciplinary hearings
  • labor negotiation strategy
  • property negotiation strategy
  • to consider records exempt under the Oregon Public Records Law
  • for business in which the public body is in competition with other organizations
  • matters relating to attorney-client privilege and pending litigation
  • to evaluate employee performance
  • negotiations related to the exchange of public investments
  • licensing meetings of health professional regulation boards
  • State Landscape Architect Board to consider investigation information
  • security information[1]

News media should be allowed to attend executive sessions, with the exception of labor negotiations and discussing litigation relating to news agencies, so long as they agree to keep certain information confidential per the request of the public body. No final actions may be taken during an executive session.[1]

Pennsylvania Sunshine Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive closed meetings can only be called for the following reasons:

  • Discussions of matters involving employment or performance of officers or employees of the agency, provided that any affected individual is given the opportunity to request, in writing, that the meeting be held in public.
  • Meetings involving collective bargaining, labor relations, and arbitration.
  • To consider the purchase or lease of real property.
  • matters falling under the attorney-client privilege regarding litigation or issues where an identifiable complaint is expected to be filed.
  • To discuss agency business which, if discussed in public, would lead to the disclosure of information protected by law, including ongoing investigations and information exempt under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law.
  • To discuss matters of academic standing or admission at state schools

Executive sessions may be held during an open meeting, at the conclusion of an open meeting, or announced for a future time. Prior to convening an executive session, the agency must announce with proper specificity the purpose of the executive session. If the session is not for a future time, the members of the agency must be notified of the session 24 hours in advance.[1]

Rhode Island Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

A public body may convene an executive closed session with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • discussions of job performance, character, or physical or mental health of a person, assuming the person has not waived his right to a closed trial
  • collective bargaining or litigation and other exemptions falling under the attorney-client privilege
  • security information
  • investigations or allegations of misconduct
  • to discuss the purchase or sale of property
  • to discuss the investment of public funds
  • in order to protect the privacy of students
  • hearings or grievances that came about as a result of the collective bargaining agreements
  • library donor information[1]

Any vote taken during an executive session must be announced upon reconvening in open session, provided that the announcement does not jeopardize the intention of the closed session.[2]

South Carolina Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

Public bodies may hold executive sessions with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • to discuss employment, promotion, discipline or termination of an employee or student at a state institution
  • negotiations with regard to labor contracts or the sale or purchase of property including any information that falls under the attorney-client privilege regarding pending litigation
  • security information
  • investigations of alleged misconduct
  • proposed location or expansion of industry in order to protect trade secrets
  • Retirement System Investment Commission for purposes pursuant to Section 9-16-80(A) or 9-16-320(C) of the state code

No final action can be taken during an executive session.[1]

South Dakota Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

Executive closed sessions may be held with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • when discussing the qualifications, character and fitness of any potential or current employee for a position
  • discussing the discipline of a student
  • matters that fall under the attorney-client privilege
  • contract negotiations
  • to discuss marketing or pricing strategies the release of which would put the public body at a competitive disadvantage

No final action can be taken during a closed session.[1]

Tennessee Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

The only executive sessions the act mentions are designed to protect attorney-client privilege, exemptions under federal law and doctor patient confidentiality.

Texas Open Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

Executive sessions can be called within an open meeting for the following reasons:

  • For matters falling under the attorney-client privilege about pending or contemplated litigation or a settlement offer. It is also permissible to close the meeting if the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with the act.
  • To discuss the purchase or sale of property
  • County commissioners courts of a county with a population of at least 400,000 and the Texas Facilities Commission when discussing contract negotiations
  • to discuss prospective gifts or donations
  • to discuss "appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal" of a public officer, employee or advisory board member, or to hear complaints about employment
  • The board of trustees of the Texas growth fund can hold a closed meeting to receive information from the employees of the Texas growth fund or a third party relating to an investment or a potential investment by the Texas growth fund in a private business entity.
  • security information
  • to discuss business information collected from potential local businesses
  • to discuss examination information[1]

No final action can be taken during a closed session. All closed cessions must have a certified agenda and record the entirety of the meeting using audio recording equipment. The record must be retained for two years and made available to the courts should a trial come about because of the meeting.[1]

Executive sessions

Executive session is a meeting where governing boards or legislative bodies are said to be engaged in executive business. Executive business can be hiring or firing discussions, contract negotiations, or other strategic discussions.

These meetings can be open to the public though usually they cannot participate. Executive sessions in regards to local bodies or smaller organizations often are closed door, forbidding the public from attending the meeting or restricting access to those records.

Executive sessions are designed to protect individual members of the board from public rancor over their specific input. In most deliberative bodies, individual members sometimes need the freedom to speak their minds, or engage in sensitive topics without being individually target-able by the public. Despite this need, the final results or decisions by the board at large are always subject to public scrutiny.

Utah Open and Public Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

Executive sessions can be held with a 2/3 vote for the following reasons[1]:

  • "discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual"
  • Collective bargaining strategy
  • litigation strategy and the attorney-client privilege
  • to discuss the purchase or sale of property
  • security information
  • investigations of criminal misconduct
  • discussing commercial information and trade secrets[2]

No final action can be taken during an executive session.[1] The act requires that the public body takes detailed minutes and makes an audio recording of all closed sessions. The minutes and recordings may be requested by the courts for in camera reviews if the validity of the closed meeting is called into question.[3]

Vermont Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called with a 2/3 vote for the following reasons:

  • labor negotiations and contracts
  • negotiating the sale or purchase of property
  • employment or evaluation of a public employee
  • disciplinary action against a public employee
  • to prevent clear and eminent peril to the public
  • to discuss matters exempt under the Vermont Public Records Law
  • student academic records or discipline
  • to hear testimony in parole proceedings
  • information protected by federal law

No final action may be taken during an executive session.[1]

Virginia Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

A public body may convene a closed executive session with a majority of the vote for the following reasons[1]:

  • discussions of employment, employment conditions, discipline and resignation of public employees
  • discussions of student records
  • the purchase or sale of property
  • to protect the privacy of individuals and businesses
  • to discuss prospective or expanding business potentials
  • investment of public funds, where release would involve a loss of competitive edge
  • matters relating to attorney-client privilege
  • for visiting foreign boards and dignitaries to state universities
  • for discussion of specific gifts receive by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, and The Science Museum of Virginia
  • to discuss honorary degrees or special awards
  • discussions of examinations
  • disciplinary actions in the House or Senate
  • Hazardous waste citing agreements
  • Discussions with the governor on economic forecasts
  • discussions of medical or mental records
  • licensing and appeal action by the State Lottery Board
  • anything that would identify police informants
  • safety and security information
  • State Child Fatality Review meetings discussing the death of a particular child
  • The University of Virginia Medical Center or Eastern Virginia Medical School may close to discuss proprietary information
  • The Health Practitioners' Monitoring Program Committee within the Department of Health Professions when discussing an impaired physician
  • Board of the Virginia College Savings Plan when discussing participants in the program
  • Wireless Carrier E-911 Cost Recovery Subcommittee concerning trade secrets
  • Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, Department of Health Professions, or the Board of Accountancy when conducting disciplinary hearings
  • discussing matters exempt under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
  • discussions of awarding a contract, where the release of the information would negativle impact the contract negotiations
  • discussing grant or loan applications
  • any discussions of confidential trade secrets
  • State Board of Elections when discussing voting security
  • Discussions of Forensic Science Board or the Scientific Advisory Committee
  • Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program Awards Committee when discussing student records or scholarship amounts[2]

No final action can be taken during closed session.[1]

Washington Open Public Meetings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisions
Exempt under other laws

A public body may convene an executive session, including an announcement for the conclusion of the executive session, for the following reasons:

  • matters relating to security
  • to discuss the price and site selection of real estate when considering purchase or sale
  • negotiations for publicly bid contracts
  • to consider financial or commercial information to protect trade secrets
  • to evaluate complaints brought against a public employee
  • to evaluate applicant or appointee qualifications
  • matters relating to issues that fall under the attorney-client privilege
  • to protect library trade secrets
  • state investment boards and pension agencies, when considering investment strategies
  • to consider other proprietary and trade secret information
  • grant applications[1]

West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Public bodies can convene executive sessions with a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • to consider acts of war or civil insurrection
  • to consider employment, discipline, termination or resignation of public employees, unless the public employee requests an open meeting
  • hearings on complaints against public employees
  • student disciplinary hearings
  • to issue, suspend or deny a license
  • when discussing the physical or mental health of a person
  • any materials whose disclosure would result in an unwarranted invasion of privacy
  • investigation materials
  • to discuss the purchase or sale of property
  • to avoid premature disclosure of awards
  • to discuss pending settlements
  • the act limits the attorney-client privilege to only pending litigation and settlements and not any occasion at which the attorney is present

Wisconsin Open Meetings Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

Any meeting of a governmental body can be closed after a motion if the rules for executive sessions apply. The motion must be recorded in the minutes and the chief presiding officer must announce the nature of the business that will be conducted and the specific exemption that allows for the closing. Only the information that the chief presiding officer announced may be discussed in the closed session. The only exemptions that allow a governmental body to close a session are:

  • Deliberation concerning a case the body heard.
  • Consideration of dismissal, demotion, licensing, , promotion, compensation, performance evaluation data , investigation, denial of tenure or discipline of any public employee or person licensed by a board or commission. This includes taking formal action on any matters like these. The person in question must be informed about it and may request an open session, it must be opened.
  • Consideration of specific applications of probation or parole, or consideration of strategy for crime detection or prevention.
  • Deliberation or negotiation of purchasing of public properties, the investing of public funds, or conducting other specified public business, whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require a closed session.
  • Deliberation by the council on unemployment compensation in a meeting without any present employer or employee members of the council.
  • Deliberating by the council on worker's compensation in a meeting without any present employer or employee members of the council.
  • Deliberation the disposition of human remains when speaking about the burial site or when discussing the location with the public would result in the site’s disturbance.
  • Consideration of financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons, preliminary consideration of specific personnel problems or the investigation of charges against specific people because discussing these points in public would likely substantially harm the reputations of anyone named in the meeting.
  • Meeting the governmental body’s legal counsel when he or she is giving oral or written advice about strategy that the body will adopt with respect to litigation with which the body is or will like be involved.
  • Consideration of requests for confidential written advice from the ethics board or from any county or municipal ethics board.

Considering any and all matters related to acts by which, if discussed in public, could harm the business, its employees or former employees.

  • Consideration of financial information relating to a non-authority person’s support of a nonprofit corporation operating the Olympic ice training center under s. 42.11 (3), if the information is exempt from disclosure under s. 42.115 or would be so exempt were the information to be contained in a record. In this paragraph, "authority" and "record" have the meanings given under s. 19.32.

Governmental bodies cannot commence a meeting, then close it and thereafter open it within 12 hours of the completed closed session, unless this expected process has been provided to the public in the manner that this law requires.

Under no circumstances is the governmental body authorized to consider at a closed meeting the final ratification or approval of a collective bargaining agreement for employment peace, municipal employment relations, state employment labor relations, which has been negotiated by such body or on its behalf.[1]

Legislative meetings

For the senate and assembly and the committees, subcommittees and other subunits thereof:

  • The public notice section of this law does not apply to any meeting of the legislature or its subunits when it is called solely to schedule the business before them, or to adopt resolutions with the sole purpose of scheduling business before the senate or the assembly.
  • If any part of this law conflicts with laws for legislative procedure, it does not apply to the senate or general assembly.
  • This law does not apply to any partisan caucus of the senate or any partisan caucus of the assembly, except as the legislative rule provides.
  • This law does not apply to meetings of the senate or assembly committee on organization under the “Persons qualified to examine returns for specific purposes” statute (71.78(4)(c)) or the “administrative provisions” statute (77.61).[1]

Wyoming Public Meeting Law

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigationYes.pngp
Security/police informationYes.pngp
Purchase or sale of propertyYes.pngp
Union negotiationsYes.pngp
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called for the following purposes:

  • matters relating to attorney-client privilege
  • to consider appointment, employment, and dismissal of employees, or to hear complaints brought against public employees
  • pending or proposed litigation
  • security
  • preparing or grading license examinations
  • when discussing the parole of an individual
  • the purchase or sale of real estate
  • to consider the acceptance of donations
  • to discuss information classified by the Wyoming Sunshine Law or federal statute
  • labor negotiations
  • to consider student disciplinary hearings

Minutes of executive sessions are to be recorded and released only for the purposes of an in camera review in court.

See also

External links

References