Legislatures and transparency

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This page contains comparisons of legislative transparency laws.

Transparency law types

[edit]

Contents
1. Select a state

AlabamaAlaskaArizona
ArkansasCaliforniaColorado
ConnecticutDelawareFlorida
GeorgiaHawaiiIdaho
IllinoisIndianaIowa
KansasKentuckyLouisiana
MaineMarylandMassachusetts
MichiganMinnesotaMississippi
MissouriMontanaNebraska
NevadaNew Hampshire
New MexicoNew Jersey
New YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhioOklahoma
OregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
TennesseeTexasUtah
VermontVirginiaWashington
West VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
2. See also

3. External links
4.) Open Meetings

WikiFOIA
Find your State
Sunshine Laws
Open Records laws
Open Meetings Laws
How to Make Records Requests
Sunshine Legislation
2010
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Litigation
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Nuances
Private Agencies, Public Dollars
Deliberative Process Exemption

This page indicates whether or not a particular state legislature is subject to the state open records act as a whole or possess a broad exemption obtained either through statute or litigation. Currently ten states have an explicit exemption from the entire open records law either as an exemption or because the courts have declared that they cannot enforce the law, with some states encouraging legislatures to adopt their own guidelines within each legislative sessions rules. Of those exemptions six are established by statute and four by the courts. Another nine state laws are ambiguous as to whether or not the legislature is included. The remaining laws include the legislature in the definition of public body. However, this inclusion does not prevent the legislature from employing other exemptions to protect their records, the most common of which is the Deliberative process exemption which often protects legislative calendars, meetings, and communication with both citizens and lobbyists. Other exemptions protect working drafts of legislation prior to release to the entire legislative assembly.

States

Here is a list of open records laws as they apply to the state legislature:

West Virginia Freedom of Information Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at West Virginia Code, 29B-1-2 and is subject to the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Wisconsin Open Records Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Wisconsin statute 19.32 and is subject to the Wisconsin Open Records Law. However, the legislature is exempt from the law requiring departments to post methods for filing a records request.[1]

WikiFOIA
Find your State
Sunshine Laws
Open Records laws
Open Meetings Laws
How to Make Records Requests
Sunshine Legislation
2010
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Litigation
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Nuances
Private Agencies, Public Dollars
Deliberative Process Exemption

This page indicates whether or not a particular state legislature is subject to the state open meetings law as a whole or possess a broad exemption obtained either through statute or litigation. Currently thirteen states have an explicit exemption from the entire open meetings law either as an exemption or because the courts have declared that they cannot enforce the law, with some states encouraging legislatures to adopt their own guidelines within each legislative sessions rules. Of those exemptions ten are established by statute and three by the courts. Another fifteen state laws are ambiguous as to whether or not the legislature is included. The remaining laws include the legislature in the definition of public body. However, this inclusion does not prevent the legislature from employing other exemptions to close meetings, per the open meetings law.

Select a state

Here is a list of open records laws as they apply to the state legislature:

Hawaii Sunshine Law

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Hawaii Sunshine Law under Hawaii Statute §92-10.

Idaho Open Meeting Law

Ambiguous

The Idaho Open Meeting Law is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. The law explicitly requires that all meetings of committees of the state legislature be open to the public. However, the legislature has the power to establish internal rules for convening any meeting in executive session making the law unenforceable.[1]

Illinois Open Meetings Act

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Illinois Open Meetings Act under Open Meetings Act, 5 ILCS 120/1.02.

Indiana Open Door Law

No.pngf

While the Indiana Open Door Law seems to include state legislative bodies within its definition of public body, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in State ex rel. Masariu v. Marion Superior Court that they are unable to enforce the law against the legislature due to separation of powers considerations.[1] The general assembly is also exempt from notice requirements found at Indiana Open Door Law 5-14-1.5-5(sec. 5).

Iowa Open Meetings Law

No.pngf

The legislature is exempted from the Iowa Open Meetings Law because they are not included in the definition of public body found at Iowa Code 21.2 as they are not explicitly mentioned and the legislature was not enacted by statute.[1]

Kansas Open Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Kansas Statutes 75-4318 and is subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Kentucky Open Meetings Act

Ambiguous

The Kentucky Open Meetings Act is ambiguous in that the legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.805. However, all non-standing committees of the legislature are considered exempt from the law under Kentucky Revised Statutes 61.810.[1]

Louisiana Open Meeting Law

Ambiguous

The Louisiana Open Meeting Law applies to the Louisiana state legislature. However, the legislature holds different exemptions for convening an executive session and is exempt from requirements regarding public notice and left to decide based on internal resolution what notice requirements the legislature will impose.[1]

Maine Open Meeting Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Main Statutes Title 1, Chapter 13, statute 402 and is subject to the Maine Open Meeting Law.

Maryland Open Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Maryland Open Meetings Act 10-502.H and is subject to the Maryland Open Meetings Act.

Massachusetts Open Meetings Act

No.pngf

The Massachusetts Open Meetings Act does not include the legislature in its definition of public body found at Massachusetts General Laws 30a.11a.

Michigan Open Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

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.

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at North Carolina Law 132-1 and is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law.

Minnesota Open Meeting Law

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.[1]

Mississippi Open Meetings Act

Ambiguous

The Mississippi Open Meetings Act includes the standing and interim committees of the legislature but explicitly exempts subcommittees and conference committees, under the definition found at Mississippi Statute 25-41-3.

Missouri Sunshine Law for open meetings

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Revised Statutes of Missouri 610.010 and is subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law for open meetings.

Montana Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Montana statute 2-3-203 and is subject to the Montana Open Meetings Law. In addition, the Montana Constitution requires that "The sessions of the legislature and the committee of the whole, all committee meetings, and all hearings shall be open to the public" without exception.[1]

  1. Article V, § 10(3) via RCFP Guide to MT

Nebraska Open Meetings Act

Ambiguous

The Nebraska Open Meetings Act is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. While the broad definition of public body would presumably include state legislators it is unclear. In addition, while the constitution requires the legislatures meetings to be open to the public, it also permits the legislature to close the doors when it sees fit. In addition, historically the legislature has laid out rules for its own executive sessions.[1]

Nevada Open Meeting Law

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Nevada Open Meeting Law under Nevada Revised Statutes 241.015.3.b.

New Hampshire Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature is explicitly included in the definition of public body found at New Hampshire Statute Title VI Statute 91-A:1-a.VI.a and is subject to the New Hampshire Open Meetings Law.

New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at http://ldb.njstatelib.org/Library_Law/lwopnmtg.php N.J.S.A.10:4-8.a] and is subject to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act.

New Mexico Open Meetings Act

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."[1]

New York Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

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.

North Carolina Open Meetings Law

Ambiguous

Portions of the legislature fall under the North Carolina Open Meetings Law while others do not. The law explicitly includes standing committees and commissions of the legislature while exempting the Legislative Ethics Committee, conference committees and caucuses. In addition, unlike the broader law which establishes deadlines, the law requires the legislature to provide reasonable notice by announcing upcoming meetings in session or posting notice on the website.[1]

North Dakota Open Meetings Statute

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at North Dakota Statute 44-04-17.1.13 and is subject to the North Dakota Open Meetings Statute. However, legislative caucuses are exempt from the law.

Ohio Open Meetings Law

Ambiguous

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Ohio Open Meetings Law under Ohio Statute 111.15. However, the state constitution requires meetings of the legislature to be open unless a 2/3 vote of the legislature closes the meeting. In addition, Ohio Statute 101.15 requires all meetings of legislative committees to be open to the public and requires the committee to provide public notice with a minimum of 24 hours notice for emergency meetings. Any action taken in violation of this law is considered void.[1]

Oklahoma Open Meetings Act

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.

Oregon Public Meetings Law

Ambiguous

The Oregon Public Meetings Law is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. While the broad definition of public body found at OR Statute 192.610 would presumably include the state legislature, it has not been challenged or held up in court.[1]

Pennsylvania Sunshine Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 703 and is subject to the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act. The act does however exempt single party caucuses in the legislature and House or Senate Ethics Committee meetings.

Rhode Island Open Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE42/42-46/42-46-2.HTM Rhode Island Statute 42-46-2] and is subject to the Rhode Island Open Meetings Act.

South Carolina Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at South Carolina Statute 30-4-20 and is subject to the South Carolina Open Meetings Law.

South Dakota Open Meetings Law

Ambiguous

The South Dakota Open Meetings Law is ambiguous as to whether or not the law applies to the legislature. While the broad definition of public body found at South Dakota Statute 1-25-1 would presumably include the state legislature, the constitution provides the legislature the opportunity to enter executive session at their own discretion.[1]

  1. S.D. Const. art. III, § 15 via RCFP Guide to SD

Tennessee Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Tennessee Code 8-44-102(via Michies) and is subject to the Tennessee Open Meetings Law.

Texas Open Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Texas Government Code 551.001 and is subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. To reinforce this, the legislature goes on to state, "In this chapter, the legislature is exercising its powers to adopt rules to prohibit secret meetings of the legislature, committees of the legislature, and other bodies associated with the legislature, except as specifically permitted in the constitution."[1]

Utah Open and Public Meetings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at Utah Code 52-4-103 and is subject to the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act.

Vermont Open Meetings Law

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at 1 V.S.A. § 310. and is subject to the Vermont Open Meetings Law. In addition, at 1 V.S.A. § 313.(c) the legislature goes on to affirm that the provision of the law apply to them, stating, "The senate and house of representatives, in exercising the power to make their own rules conferred by Chapter II of the Vermont Constitution, shall be governed by the provisions of this section in regulating the admission of the public as provided in Chapter II, { 8 of the Constitution."

Virginia Open Meetings Law

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Virginia Open Meetings Law under Code of Virginia 2.2-3707 and is left to decide its own rules with regard to open meetings.

Washington Open Public Meetings Act

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Washington Open Public Meetings Act under RCW 42.30.020(1)(a).

West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act

Yes.pngp

The legislature falls under the definition of public body found at West Virginia Statute § 6-9A-2. and is subject to the West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act. Specifically, any standing, select or special committee, except the commission on special investigations is subject to the act.

Wisconsin Open Meetings Law

No.pngf

In its ruling in State v. Circuit Court for Dane County the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the legislature did not amend the constitution by enacting the Open Meetings Law and as a result the open meetings law does not apply to the legislature. Instead, the guidelines for the legislature are outlined by the constitution which requires all legislative meetings to be open to the public but fails to outline guidelines for notice and affords the legislature the opportunity to decide on its own requirements for executive session. In addition, the court held that it had no power to enforce the rules of the legislature due to separation of powers considerations.[1]

Wyoming Public Meeting Law

No.pngf

The legislature is explicitly exempted from the Wyoming Public Meeting Law under Wyoming statute 16-4-402.

See also

External links