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Kentucky Open Meetings Act

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The Kentucky Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 61.800-61.850 of the Kentucky revised statutes define the law.

Relevant legal cases

See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA

Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Kentucky. For more information go the page or go to Kentucky sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)

We do not currently have any pages on open meetings litigation in Kentucky.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation

We do not currently have any legislation for Kentucky in 2010.


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"The General Assembly finds and declares that the basic policy of KRS 61.805 to 61.850 is that the formation of public policy is public business and shall not be conducted in secret and the exceptions provided for by KRS 61.810 or otherwise provided for by law shall be strictly construed."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that for the purposes of the Kentucky open meetings laws, a "meeting" means all gatherings of a public agency of every kind, including video teleconferences and casual gatherings.[2]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all administrative and legislative boards or committees of the state and its political subdivisions including education agencies and any organizations created by statute whose members are appointed by a public agency and any committees formed for the purpose of evaluating the qualifications of public agency employees.

Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:

  • Hospital medical staff review boards[2]

==== Legislature====

Ambiguous

The Kentucky Open Meetings Act is ambiguous in that the legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.805. However, all non-standing committees of the legislature are considered exempt from the law under Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.810.[3]

Notice requirements

All meetings of public agencies must be held at regularly scheduled times and the schedule for regular meetings must be made available to the public.[4]

The act allows for special meetings to be called in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings. The public agency must provide at least 24 hours notice of the meeting, including an agenda which limits the discussion of the materials at the meeting. The public agency must also provide 24 hours notice to any news agency that has requested notice. The act allows meetings to be called with less than 24 hour notice so long as it is in a grave situation.[5]

Meeting process

The act prevents public agencies from conducting "serial" meetings with the intention of circumventing the open meetings act.[6]

The act permits an agency to conduct meetings through video/teleconferencing given that the meeting is open and accessible to the public.[7]

Minutes must be taken at all public meetings and include all actions taken and discussions conducted by the public body.

Executive sessions

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.[8] 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[6]

If violated

If an individual feels that the open meetings act has been violated, he or she must first issue a written complaint to the public body who violated the act. The public body has three days to amend the violation. If the body fails to act or refuses to amend the violation, the individual can submit a request to the attorney general within 60 days. The attorney general has 10 days to respond to the request. If no one appeals the decision of the attorney general within 30 days of its issuance, it has the binding force of law.[9]

Circuit courts also possess jurisdiction over violations of the law, and appeals from decisions of the attorney general. A lawsuit must be filed with the circuit courts within 60 days of the original violation. If the courts find violations of the law, it may void actions taken at the meetings in question, award attorney fees and assess fines of up to $100 per violation.[10]


See also

External links

References