New York Open Meetings Law
The New York Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Article 7 sections 100-111 of the New York code 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 York. For more information go the page or go to New York sunshine lawsuits.
(The cases are listed alphabetically. To order them by year please click the icon to the right of the Year heading)
|Perez v. City Univ. of New York||2005|
Proposed open meetings legislation
We do not currently have any legislation for New York in 2010.
Statement of purposeThe statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"Legislative declaration. It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants. It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of those who created it."
Which government meetings are open to the public?
The law states that meetings are the official convening of a public body to discuss and decide on public business.
Notable exemptions to this definition include:
- Judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, except public service commissions and zoning boards
- Any matter matter made confidential by federal or state law
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as any entity of two or more members which requires a quorum to conduct business and which performs a governmental function for the state or a political subdivision. The act explicitly includes public corporations.
Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:
- Single party caucuses
The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at New York Public Officers Law, Article 7 §102 and is subject to the New York Open Meetings Law. However, the law does contain an exemption for single party caucuses.
The act requires that all public bodies provide at least 72 hours notice for meetings scheduled at least a week in advance. Notice must be placed in a conspicuous location and be sent to the local news media. The act requires the public body to provide reasonable notice for all meetings scheduled less than a week in advance.
The act requires public bodies to take minutes of all meetings including the time and date of the meeting, the members in attendance, any topics discussed and any votes taken. The minutes must be made available to the public.
|Common executive session exemptions|
|Personal privacy (including employees)|
|Purchase or sale of property|
|Exempt under other laws|
An executive session may be called by a majority vote for the following reasons:
- matters which would harm public safety
- information that would disclose law enforcement agents and informants
- investigation information
- litigation discussions, including any material that would fall under attorney-client privilege
- collective negotiations
- personal information, including medical and credit history when being used within discussions of employment, promotion, discipline or removal
- preparation or grading of exams
- sale or purchase of property
No final action can be taken during an executive session.
Any individual may files charges against a public body who has violated this law. A court may void any action taken during a meeting in violation of the law if the violation was knowingly committed. The court may also award attorney fees to the plaintiff.
Committee on Open Government
The Committee on Open Government has the power to issue advisory opinions on questions relating to the open meetings law.
State of New York
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