Louisiana Open Meeting Law
The Louisiana Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 42.4.1-13 of the Louisiana 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 Louisiana. For more information go the page or go to Louisiana 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 Louisiana.
Proposed open meetings legislation
We do not currently have any legislation for Louisiana in 2010.
Statement of purpose
The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states, "It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. Toward this end, the provisions of R.S. 42:4.1 through 10 shall be construed liberally."
Which government meetings are open to the public?
The law defines meeting as an gathering of a quorum of members of a public body with the intention of receiving information for, or deliberating or deciding on public matters.
Notable exemptions to this definition include:
- chance or social meetings where no vote is taken
- Judicial proceedings
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as all city and county governing authorities, school boards, publicly operated utility boards, planning commissions and "any other state, parish, municipal, or special district boards, commissions, or authorities, and those of any political subdivision thereof, where such body possesses policy making, advisory, or administrative functions."
Notable exemptions to the definition of public body include:
- Advisory boards created by public agencies where the members receive no compensation for their services.
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.
All public agencies are required to post their schedule of regular meetings at the beginning of the year. Agencies must also provide 24 hours written notice of all regular and special meetings, including the agenda of the meeting. Items not on the agenda can only be considered after a 2/3 vote of the public body. The public agencies are also required to notify any media organizations who have requested notice of the meetings. No part of these notice requirements applies to the legislatures.
All public agencies are required to take minutes of every meeting and voting is required to be done vocally and recorded in the minutes. The minutes must also include all matters discussed by the public body.
|Common executive session exemptions|
|Personal privacy (including employees)|
|Purchase or sale of property|
|Exempt under other laws|
A public agency may hold an executive session with a 2/3 vote of the board members present. Executive sessions are limited to the following topics:
- Discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical/mental health of an individual.The individual must be contacted 24 hours in advance and may wave the right of executive sessions. This exemption does not apply to discussions of the character of an individual who is to be appointed to a position by the public body.
- Collective bargaining strategy or litigation strategy, especially with regard to matters that fall under attorney-client privilege
- Security information
- allegations of employee misconduct
- Cases of major disaster
- Meetings of the State Mineral Board
- Discussions between a school board and individual students, parents, and/or tutors. THe individuals involved may request a public meeting
- Any other matters now provided for or may be provided for by the legislature.
The state legislature may also convene executive sessions for the following reasons:
- discussing confidential communication
- Discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical/mental health of an individual who is being considered for appointment approval or employment
- investigations conducted by the legislature
- discussion of the internal operations of either house
- any other exemptions provided for by the rules of the legislature
Either the attorney general, a local district attorney or any individual may commence action within 60 days of the violation against a public body who has violated the open meetings law. If the court determines that a violation has occurred, it may render actions taken by the board in question void, assign fees not to exceed $100 per violation and appropriate attorney fees.
State of Louisiana
Baton Rouge (capital)
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | Superintendent of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry | Secretary of Natural Resources | Executive Director of the Workforce Commission | Chairman of Public Service Commission |
Louisiana Supreme Court | Circuit Court of Appeals | District Courts | Family Court | Juvenile Courts | Parish Courts | Justice of the Peace Courts | City Courts | Mayor's Courts | Magistrate Courts | Traffic Courts | Judicial selection in Louisiana |