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Nevada Open Meeting Law

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The Nevada Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Chapter 241 of the Nevada Revised 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 Nevada. For more information go the page or go to Nevada 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 Nevada.


Proposed open meetings legislation

2010

See also Proposed transparency legislation, Open meetings legislation


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


Statement of purpose

The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that all public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly."[1]

Which government meetings are open to the public?

The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body to deliberate or decide on public matters. The act also includes serial meetings where each meeting has less than a quorum but the combination of the meeting results in a quorum decision and the meetings were held to try and violate the open meetings law.[1]

Notable exemptions to this definition include:

  • Social gatherings where no discussion of public policy occurs
  • Meetings that would fall under the attorney-client privilege exemption, relating to advice concerning pending litigation
  • Judicial proceedings[1]

What government bodies are subject to the laws?

The act defines government body as all administrative, executive or legislative bodies of the state and all its political subdivisions, including all those that either receive or disburse public funds and all committees or boards that serve in an advisory capacity to public agencies. The act specifically includes educational and university boards.[1]

==== Legislature====

No.pngf

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

Notice requirements

Public bodies are required to provide 3 days notice prior to public meetings, and they must include the time and location of the meeting as well as an agenda listing the topics to be discussed at the meetings. The act requires notice to be posted at the main office of the public agency as well as three additional prominent locations in the jurisdiction of the public agency. The act also requires the public agency to notify all individuals who have requested notice, either through the mail or through email.[1]

Meeting process

The act requires all public bodies to keep minutes, including the members in attendance, the time and location of the meeting and any subjects discussed or voted on at the meeting. All minutes must be available within 30 days of the meeting and are considered public records and must be maintained for 5 years. The act also requires that all meetings be recorded using audio recording devices, and these recordings must be kept for 1 year. This applies to all closed meetings as well. Records of closed meetings must be released once the public agency decides that the topics of the meetings no longer require secrecy. As long as doing so does not interfere with the meeting, any of the general public may record the meeting using any sound or video reproduction.[1]

Executive sessions

Common executive session exemptions
Personal privacy (including employees)Yes.pngp
Attorney-client privilege/litigation
Security/police information
Purchase or sale of property
Union negotiations
Licensing exams/decisionsYes.pngp
Exempt under other laws

A public body may hold a closed meeting with a majority vote for only the following reasons:

  • "To consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person," assuming that the person has not waived his right to a closed session[1]
  • This does not apply to elected or appointed officials
  • To discuss examination materials
  • To consider an appeal by a person of the results of an examination

This chapter does not prevent the removal of disruptive individuals, the exclusion of witnesses during other witnesses testimony or require any meetings to be closed.[1]

If violated

Either the attorney general or any individual may file suit if they perceive that a public body has violated the open meeting act. Actions taken during an illegal meeting are considered void. Public officials who attend meetings in violation of this act are guilty of misdemeanors.[1]

Misrepresentation of the law

Several Nevada school districts used to misinterpret the Open Meetings Law, closing meetings because the information they wished to discuss was not on the agenda. In 1991, Assemblyman Lou Bergevin of Douglas County pushed for legislation for clarification so that public bodies could discuss matters raised by the public.

Clark County School District new counsel supported the change in 1991 and told the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs, "… [W]hen the board members do not respond to the individuals concerned, it makes the individuals very antagonistic and they are very upset by an absence of response. So what we are asking for is the ability to allow the public to come forward, express their concerns, and get feedback from the board without taking any official action."

The legislation passed that year, but some Nevada school districts continued to work by the old interpretation through 2007.

The agendas for Washoe County School District and the Eureka County School District, say "The Board is precluded from discussing or acting on items raised by Public Comment, which are not already on the agenda."

The attorney general issued Washoe County School District a warning, saying "… [T]his Office advises that the Board change its policy of stating that the law prohibits the Board from commenting on statements made by the general public." As of October 2007, the agenda’s wording has not changed.[2]

See also

External links

References