Maine Open Meeting Law

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The Maine Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Title 1, chapter 13 of the Maine 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 Maine. For more information go the page or go to Maine 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 Maine.

Proposed open meetings legislation


See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation

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

Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"The Legislature finds and declares that public proceedings exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of the Legislature that their actions be taken openly and that the records of their actions be open to public inspection and their deliberations be conducted openly. It is further the intent of the Legislature that clandestine meetings, conferences or meetings held on private property without proper notice and ample opportunity for attendance by the public not be used to defeat the purposes of this subchapter."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that the act applies to all meetings where transactions that affect the citizens of the state have occurred.[2]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as the legislature, the boards of all state agencies, including universities and state colleges, the boards of municipalities and other political subdivisions as well as all committees that either possess a membership composed entirely of members of governmental agencies or non-profit statewide broadcasting services. The act also specifically includes all advisory boards created by public agencies unless those boards are exempted at their creation and all interscholastic high school organizations.[2]

==== Legislature====


The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Main Statutes Title 1, Chapter 13, statute 402 and is subject to the Maine Open Meeting Law.

Notice requirements

The act requires ample notice be given of public meetings, so as to allow the public full opportunity to attend. In the event of an emergency meeting, public bodies are obligated to notify all local news agencies.[3]

Meeting process

The act requires that public agencies permit all individuals to record the meetings using either audio and video equipment and broadcast those meetings.[4]

Executive sessions

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[5]

If violated

Violations of this act are punishable by fines of up to $500.[6]

See also

External links