Michigan Open Meetings Act
The Michigan Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Act 267 of 1976 defines the law.
Relevant legal cases
- See also: Court cases with an impact on state FOIA
Here is a list of open meetings lawsuits in Michigan. For more information go the page or go to Michigan sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
|Federated Publications, Inc. v. Board of Trustees of Michigan State University||1999|
Proposed open meetings legislation
We do not currently have any legislation for Michigan in 2010.
Statement of purposeThe statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"An act to require certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public; to require notice and the keeping of minutes of meetings; to provide for enforcement; to provide for invalidation of governmental decisions under certain circumstances; to provide penalties; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts."
Which government meetings are open to the public?
The law states that meetings are any gathering of a quorum of a public body with the intention of deliberating or deciding on public matters.
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as all state and local bodies which were created by the state constitution, statute, charter, ordinance, resolution, or rule and which exercise government authority or function.
Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:
- Social or chance gatherings
- Veteran's Trust Fund Board
- The following boards are exempt when deliberating a case:
- Worker's Compensation Appeal Board
- Employment Security Board of Review
- State Tenure Commission
- Arbitrator panels
- Michigan Public Service Commission
- Insurance associations
The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Michigan CodeAct 267 of 1976, 15.262 and is subject to the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
Public bodies are required to post notice of all meetings at their main office. Regularly scheduled meetings are to be posted within 10 days of the first meeting of the year, at which the meeting times are to be established. If one of these regular meetings is changed, then the public body must post notice of this within 3 days of deciding to change the meeting time. Notice must be posted 18 hours before a changed regular meeting, 6 hours before a conference committee meeting and 1 hour before a second conference committee meeting. A public body may reconvene a meeting within 36 hours of original meeting without posting notice. Emergency meetings may be held to protect life or property interests, if 2/3 of the body deem it necessary.
Any individual has the right to attend a public meeting and record or broadcast that public meeting. The public body may not require the registration of individuals attending a public meeting. Meetings cannot be held at residential locations unless no alternative is open. Minutes must be taken at both open and closed meetings. Minutes from closed meetings are to be sealed and can be destroyed 1 year and 1 day after the meeting, assuming that no legal action requires them to be maintained. The minutes of open meetings must be available within 8 days after the minutes were taken and official minutes must be available within 5 days of the minutes approval.
|Common executive session exemptions|
|Personal privacy (including employees)|
|Purchase or sale of property|
|Exempt under other laws|
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
- 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
Anyone may file suit if they believe a violation of the open meetings law has occurred. A court may invalidate decisions of the public body if it finds a violation of the law and the suit was filed within 60 days of the release of official minutes and within 30 days regarding matters relating to contracts. The judge may also assess fines of up to $1000 for each violation. For a second violation the court may assess fees of up to $2000. The individual public officials are personally responsible for up to $500 and attorney fees if found intentionally acting in violation of the laws.
State of Michigan
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Auditor General | Superintendent of Public Instruction | Commissioner of Insurance | Director of Agriculture and Rural Development | Director of Natural Resources | Director of Labor and Economic Growth | Chairman of Public Service Commission |