Minnesota Open Meeting Law

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The Minnesota Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Section 471.705 of the Minnesota Statutes 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 Minnesota. For more information go the page or go to Minnesota 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 Minnesota.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation


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


Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that any gathering of a public body for the transaction of business is considered a meeting and is to be open.

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all bodies at the state and local level responsible for transacting public business, and statewide and local pension plans.[1]

Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:

  • commissioner of corrections
  • when the agency is exercising quasi-judicial functions[1]

==== Legislature====

Ambiguous

The Minnesota Open Meeting Law does not include the legislature in its definition of public body found at Minnesota Statutes 13D.01. However, Minnesota Statute 3.055 requires all meetings of the legislature to be open to the public but charges the legislature with enforcing the statute through its own rules and regulations. In addition, the small bill does not outline any notice requirements for the legislature.[2]

Notice requirements

Public agencies are obligated to hold a schedule of their regular meetings in their main office. Changes in regular meetings and special meetings require notice to be posted 24 hours in advance of the meeting, and notice to be sent to any individuals who have requested notice. Emergency meetings may be called with less notice, so long as a good faith effort is made to contact any media outlets who have requested that they be contacted. Meetings may be recessed and reconvened so long as notice of the reconvening is provided in the original meeting. Public agencies must provide notice of executive sessions as well.[3]

Meeting process

The act requires that all minutes, including subjects discussed and votes, be recorded in a journal and made available for public viewing during normal business hours at the public agencies office.[1] The act permits the use of telecommunication methods so long as it does not infringe on the publics right to participate and every member of the body can be seen and heard by all other members.[4]

Executive sessions

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.[5]

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.[6]

If violated

Anyone may bring action against a public body if they feel that the public body violated the open meetings act. If the court finds a violation, it may assess fines to an individual public officer of up to $300. The court may also asses attorney fees to the plaintiff if a violation knowingly occurred or to the defendant if the court felt the lawsuit was frivolous. If a public officer is found to have violated the law three times within the same public agency, the judge may remove the individual from office.[7]

See also

External links

References