Oklahoma Open Meetings Act

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The Oklahoma Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 301-314 of the Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma. For more information go the page or go to Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation


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


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states, "It is the public policy of the State of Oklahoma to encourage and facilitate an informed citizenry’s understanding of the governmental processes and governmental problems."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that a meeting is any conduct of business by the majority of a public body which has gathered for the purpose of conducting business. The act only permits the use of teleconferencing technology for the purpose of holding electronic meetings and explicitly prohibits the use of other technologies for gathering consensus decisions outside of public meetings. The following boards are permitted to use teleconferencing technologies:

  • Oklahoma Futures
  • Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
  • Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision
  • The State Board of Osteopathic Examiners
  • The Board of Dentistry
  • Variance and Appeals Boards
  • A public trust whose beneficiary is a municipality
  • Native American Cultural and Education Authority
  • Corporation Commission
  • The State Board of Vocational and Technical Education[1]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

  • School board meetings when discussing students[1]

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all bodies of the state, counties and all other political subdivisions that receive or administer public funds, maintain public property and all subcommittees of these public bodies.

Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:

  • The Judiciary and Council on Judicial Complaints
  • State legislature
  • Agency administrative staffs
  • Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission[1]

==== Legislature====

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act under Oklahoma Statute Title 25, §§ 304. Instead the legislature is left to establish its own rules of conduct with regard to meetings.

Notice requirements

The act requires all public bodies to establish a regular meeting schedule for each calendar by December 15 of the previous year. Calenders of regular meetings must be filed with the Secretary of State for all state agencies and county and municipal clerks for all local bodies. Changes in regularly scheduled meetings require a 10 day notification to the secretary of state or clerk that holds the calendar. In addition to the calendar notice, all meetings require a 24 hour notice to be posted in the public agencies office 24 hours prior to the meeting. This notice must include an agenda which will limit the topics to be discussed at the meeting. Notice for reconvened meetings must be provided in the original meeting. Meetings that do not appear on the filed schedule require notice to be placed outside the main office 48 hours in advance of the meeting and be transmitted to all individuals and news agencies who request it. The act does allow emergency meetings in dire situations, provided that every attempt be made to notify the public.[1]


Meeting process

The act requires that all agency record detailed minutes of the meetings, including the time and date, the members in attendance, the subjects discussed and any votes made. Voting in meetings must be public and recorded in detail in the minutes. The public body may not prohibit an individual from recording an open meeting using either audio or video recording equipment.[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/decisions
Exempt under other lawsYes.pngp

Executive sessions may be called by a majority vote for the following reasons:

  • discussions of employment, promotion, and disciplining of a public employee
  • labor negotiations
  • purchase or appraisal of properties
  • attorney-client privilege concerning pending litigation
  • Board of Education discussions of student discipline
  • discussing matters involving handicapped children
  • Any matter which is exempt under the Oklahoma Open Records Act or federal statute

The following boards may hold executive sessions at any time:

  • The State Banking Board
  • The Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority
  • The Oklahoma Development Finance Authority
  • The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology
  • The Oklahoma Savings and Loan Board
  • The Oklahoma Health Resource Committee, to discuss research and development of products
  • Review Committees to propose changes in neighborhood renewal and economic development
  • The Child Death Review Board
  • All nonprofit foundations
  • The Oklahoma Indigent Defense System Board, in order to further contract negotiations with public defenders

No final action may be taken during an executive session, unless compelled to by federal law.[1]

If violated

If a court finds a violation of the open meetings act, it may void any action taken during a meeting in violation of the law and assess penalties of fines of up to $500 and jail time of up to 1 year.[1]


See also

External links

References