I. STATUTE -- BASIC APPLICATION.

North Dakota law provides that all public meetings are open meetings unless there is a specific statutory exemption of a particular type of meeting. The North Dakota Constitution provides:

Unless otherwise provided by law, all meetings of public or governmental bodies, boards, bureaus, commissions, or agencies of the state or any political subdivision of the state, or organizations or agencies supported in whole or in part by public funds, or expending public funds, shall be open to the public.

North Dakota Constitution, Article XI, Section 5.

The North Dakota open meetings law provides, “Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, all meetings of a public entity must be open to the public.” N.D.C.C. § 44-04-19. Additionally, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, all votes of whatever kind taken at any public meeting must be open, public votes, and all nonprocedural votes must be recorded roll call votes, with the votes of each member being made public at the open meeting. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21. Minutes must be kept of all open meetings and are open records. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.

The law is simple: Unless there is a specific exemption, meetings are open to the public.