Tennessee Open Meetings Law
The Tennessee Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Title 8, chapter 44, part 1 of the Tennessee code 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 Tennessee. For more information go the page or go to Tennessee 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 Tennessee.
Proposed open meetings legislation
We do not currently have any legislation for Tennessee in 2010.
Statement of purposeThe statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states,
"The general assembly hereby declares it to be the policy of this state that the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret."
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 in order to deliberate or decide on public policy.
Notable exemptions to this definition include:
- on site facility inspections
- chance meetings so long as they are not used to circumvent the open meetings law
What government bodies are subject to the laws?
The act defines government body as any public body composed of two or more individuals which has authority to make decisions or make recommendations to a public body. The act also includes in its definition all corporations who receive at least 1/3 of their income from public funds, including non-profits that are founded in order to aid in local economic expansion, except when they are discussing matters related to doctor-patient confidentiality, trade secrets and information exempt under federal law.
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.
The act requires all public bodies to provide adequate notice for all regularly scheduled and special meetings, but does not elaborate on the amount of time needed.
The act requires that all public bodies record minutes of meetings, to include a record of the time and place of the meetings, the members present, and any votes taken. No secret votes are permitted, and all votes must be recorded in detail.
|Common executive session exemptions|
|Personal privacy (including employees)|
|Purchase or sale of property|
|Exempt under other laws|
The only executive sessions the act mentions are designed to protect attorney-client privilege, exemptions under federal law and doctor patient confidentiality.
Any citizen of the state may bring action against a public body in violation of the law. Any action taken during a meeting in violation of the open meetings act is considered void.
State of Tennessee
|State executive officers||
Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Comptroller | Treasurer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance| Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Environment & Conservation | Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development | Chairman of Regulatory Authority |