New Mexico Open Meetings Act

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The New Mexico Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 10.15.1-4 of the New Mexico Annotated 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 New Mexico. For more information go the page or go to New Mexico 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 New Mexico.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation

We do not currently have any legislation for New Mexico in 2010.


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. The formation of public policy or the conduct of business by vote shall not be conducted in closed meeting. All meetings of any public body except the legislature and the courts shall be public meetings, and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings. Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the use of audio and video recording devices."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of members of the public body in order to discuss and decide on personnel policy, rules, regulations, ordinances and all other public business.[1]

==== Legislature====

Ambiguous

The New Mexico Open Meetings Act contains a statute which declares that all meetings of the legislature should be open to the public. However, the statute does not impose notification requirements and permits the legislature to adopt joint resolutions to override the open meetings requirements in any matter. In addition, the statute provides broad exemptions for the legislature including, "matters relating to personnel or matters adjudicatory in nature or to investigative or quasi-judicial proceedings relating to ethics and conduct or to a caucus of a political party."[2]

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as any board or commission of any state agency or the agencies of its political subdivisions. The act explicitly applies to the legislature, unless House and Senate rules provide for an alternative meeting policy.[1]

Notice requirements

The act requires all public bodies to provide reasonable notice for all meetings. Reasonable notice is determined by each agency at the beginning of the year. The act requires that all public agencies post notice in a prominent location and contact any news agencies who have requested notification of meeting times. Notice must also be accompanied by an agenda. Agendas must be released at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Public bodies may only discuss topics that appear on the released agenda, unless an emergency arises requiring immediate attention. Meetings can be closed and reconvened within a reasonable amount of time without notice as long as notice is provided in the original meeting and that the reconvened meeting does not discuss any topics outside of the agenda of the original meeting.[1]

Meeting process

The act requires public bodies to record minutes of all meetings including the date and time of the meeting, the topics discussed and any votes that occurred. Draft minutes of meetings must be available within 10 days and are subject to approval at the next open meeting.[1]

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 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]

If violated

Any individual may take action against a public body for violations of the open meetings act. The individual must first notify the public body of the violation. If the public body does not correct the transgression within 15 days, the individual may file suit in district court. The court must void any action taken at a meeting in violation of the law. It may also award attorney fees to the plaintiff in case of violation and to the defendant if the lawsuit was frivolous.[3] Individual public officials held in violation of the law are guilty of a misdemeanor and liable for fines of up to $500.

See also

External links

References