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1. Does the law provide expedited procedure for reviewing request to attend upcoming meetings?

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  • Alabama

    Under the Act, complaints alleging a violation are to be set for a preliminary hearing no more than 10 business days after the defendants’ response or 17 business days if the defendant does not respond.

    If a pretrial motion for closure of court proceedings has been filed in a pending case, the motion must be "docketed reasonably in advance of [its] disposition so as to give the public and press an opportunity to intervene and present their objections to the court." Ex parte Birmingham News Co., 624 So. 2d 1117, 1134 (Ala. Crim. App. 1993). "When a motion for closure is made at the beginning of or during trial, 'a preclosure hearing should be granted as a matter of right to persons actually present and subject to removal from the courtroom.'" 624 So. 2d at 1134 (quoting federal case law). Although docketing is not required for closure motions that are made at the beginning of or during trial, "'interested members of the press and public must be permitted a hearing within a reasonable time in order to move for access to sealed transcripts of a closed hearing.'" 624 So. 2d at 1135 (quoting federal case law).

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  • Alaska

    There is no provision in the law for expedited procedures for reviewing requests to attend upcoming meetings. Nor are there administrative regulations governing access to meetings generally, as is the case with public records of the state. However, there are court procedures for obtaining expedited consideration of any motion, upon a proper showing, see Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 77(g), and for temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions, Ak. R. Civ. Pro. 65. News media have successfully used these procedures to obtain prompt and timely review of questions involving access to meetings or records.

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  • Arizona

    The OML does not contain any express expedited procedures for reviewing OML actions, but a special statutory action combined with a request for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction would expedite the procedure.

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  • Arkansas

    The FOIA does not provide a procedure by which a citizen may request that the governing body allow him to attend an upcoming meeting, and the act does not require that such a request be made. Moreover, a premeeting request is virtually impossible if the agency does not provide an agenda outlining the topics for discussion and its plan to hold a closed session. As noted above, the FOIA’s notice provisions do not require that an agenda be included with the notice of the meeting. Nonetheless, a citizen wishing to challenge a closed meeting should object as soon as he is aware of the governing body’s intention to hold an executive session. Otherwise, the governing body may be able to argue that the citizen has not exhausted his administrative remedies. Exhaustion is required when a plaintiff requests invalidation of the action taken at the closed meeting or a declaratory judgment. Rehab Hosp. Servs. Corp. v. Delta-Hills Health Sys. Agency Inc., 285 Ark. 397, 687 S.W.2d 840 (1985). If a citizen has advance notice of the planned executive session and its purpose (as would be the case when a detailed agenda is available), he can object prior to the meeting. If rebuffed by the governing body, he can then seek injunctive relief, a declaratory judgment, or possibly a writ of mandamus.

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  • California

    Yes. Both Acts provide for immediate judicial review to stop or to prevent violations or threatened violations of the statutory open meeting laws or to determine the applicability of the Acts to past actions or threatened future actions by the state body or the legislative body of a local agency. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11130(a) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54960 (Brown Act). Under the Brown Act, a person must timely submit a cease and desist letter to bring an action to determine the application of the Act to a past action. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.2.
    Additionally, mandamus or injunctive relief is available to declare as null and void action taken in violation of the Brown Act, Sections 54953 (open and public meetings), 54954.2 (posting of agenda), 54954.5 (description requirements for closed sessions), 54954.6 (public meeting in general tax or assessment of notice thereof), 54956 (special meetings and notice thereof), or 54956.5 (emergency meeting rules). Gov't Code § 54960.1(a). A predicate to such action under the Brown Act, however, requires a timely demand to cure or correct the violation. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54960.1(b).
    Similarly, mandamus or injunctive relief is available to declare as null and void an action in violation of the Bagley-Keene Act, Sections 11123 (open meetings) and 11125 (notice of meetings). No demand to cure and correct is required.

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  • Colorado

    The Open Meetings Law does not provide any expedited procedure for agency review of requests to attend upcoming meetings. However, persons who wish to receive notice of upcoming meetings may request the secretary or clerk of the public body to place their names on a "sunshine list" pIn general, a person who seeks access to a meeting should attend and request admittance. Unruly or indecorous conduct of the person seeking admittance is not advisable, since this will only give the public body legitimate grounds for exclusion.
    ursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(7).

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  • Connecticut

    FOIA does not contain any provisions for expedited procedure for reviewing request to attend upcoming meetings. But see Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(d) ("Any appeal taken pursuant to this section shall be privileged in respect to its assignment for trial over all other actions except writs of habeas corpus and actions brought by or on behalf of the state, including information on the relation of private individuals.").

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  • Delaware

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Florida

    Although section 286.011 does not provide specifically for an expedited procedure for reviewing a request to attend an upcoming meeting, the statute does give the circuit courts jurisdiction to issue injunctions to enforce the purposes of the section. Fla. Stat. § 286.011(2), (2012).

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not specifically require courts to give priority to litigation to enforce the Act but expedited treatment may be sought and is often afforded depending upon the facts of the particular case.

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  • Hawaii

    Unlike the UIPA, which provides expedited review of denial of access to records, the Sunshine Law does not explicitly provide for expedited hearings although the courts can enforce the law "by injunctions or other appropriate remedy." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-12.

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  • Idaho

    No expedited procedures are set forth for any particular violation of the Open Meetings Act.  Those who feel like the Act has been violated, should diligently pursue notifying the agency of such violation pursuant to Idaho Code §74-208(7)(a)(i) and, if necessary, contacting either the Attorney General’s office to enforce the Act pursuant to Idaho Code § 74-208(5) or pursue an action in magistrate court pursuant to Idaho Code § 74-208(6).

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  • Illinois

    Unlike the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act contains no provision directing a court to expedite proceedings brought under the Act. It may be advisable to call a court's attention to the expediting provision in the Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140/11(h) (1987), and suggest that the same policy should apply to proceedings brought under the Open Meetings Act.

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  • Indiana

    Yes. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-7(h) provides that a court shall expedite the hearing of an action filed for declaratory judgment or an injunction. The statute authorizes the filing of declaratory judgments or injunctive actions to ensure compliance with the statute, including injunctions against “threatened or future violations.” Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-7(a)(1), (2); see Common Council of City of Peru v. Peru Daily Tribune, 440 N.E.2d 726, 733 (Ind. Ct. App. 1982) (holding that proposed executive sessions threatened violation of the Open Door Law and granting injunction); Marion-Adams Sch. Corp. v. Boone, 840 N.E.2d 462, 468 (Ind. Ct. App. 2006) (granting declaratory judgment to prevent violation of Open Door Law).

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  • Iowa

    No procedure exists for expediting review of challenge to upcoming meeting.

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  • Kansas

    Meetings must be reasonably accessible to the public; as such, an observer’s ability to attend is presumed. Although no express procedure is set forth in the statute, injunction or mandamus are available under K.S.A. 75-4320a if a request to attend were denied.

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  • Kentucky

    There is no expedited procedure available in the Open Meetings Act regarding upcoming meetings.

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  • Maine

    Yes. Actions to enforce the Act “may be advanced on the docket and receive priority over other cases when the court determines that the interest of justice so require.”  1 M.R.S.A. § 409(2). A motion may be made for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction to keep a public body from entering an executive session.  1 M.R.S.A. § 409(3); M.R.Civ.P. 65.

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  • Maryland

    Although the Act does not specifically provide for expedited judicial review regarding a request to attend an upcoming meeting, the court is authorized to issue an injunction and to require compliance with the Act. §§ 3-401 (d).

    The OMCB will consider oral or written complaints of anticipated future violations. § 3-212(a). Upon receipt of the complaint, the chairman, a designated OMCB member, or an authorized staff person may contact the public body to determine the nature of the meeting and the reason for its expected closure. Id.. If at least two OMCB members determine that closure would violate the Act, the person acting for the OMCB shall immediately inform the body of the potential violation and any lawful means for the body to conduct its meeting and achieve its purposes. § 3-212(b). The person acting for the OMCB shall also prepare a written report describing the complaint and efforts to achieve compliance with the Act. § 3-212(d). The person acting for the OMCB must also inform the complainant of the OMCB's efforts to achieve compliance. § 3-212(c). Use of this procedure does not bar the complainant from filing a subsequent written complaint under § 3-205. § 3-212(e).

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  • Massachusetts

    No specific provision. Can attempt declaratory judgment proceeding and ask for restraining order in Superior Court.

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  • Minnesota

    The Open Meeting Law does not provide for an expedited review procedure.

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  • Nebraska

    Open Meetings Act does not provide for pre-meeting challenge of contemplated closed session, although request to attorney general may operate in that way.

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  • Nevada

    There is no provision in the law for expedited proceedings.

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  • New Jersey

    The OPMA provides that any person may apply to the Superior Court "for injunctive orders or other remedies" to ensure compliance with the provisions of the statute. N.J.S.A. 10:4-16. An application for an injunction prohibiting a public body from holding a closed meeting or emergency session will receive an expedited hearing when done by Order to Show Cause. See N.J. Court Rules 4:52, 4:67 and 4:69.

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  • New Mexico

    The Open Meetings Act does not provide expedited procedures for reviewing requests to attend meetings.

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  • New York

    Although there is no expedited procedure specifically under the OML for reviewing a request to attend an upcoming meeting, an aggrieved person may commence an Article 78 proceeding of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules or an action for declaratory judgment and/or injunctive relief. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 107(1) (McKinney 1988). The Civil Practice Law and Rules provides for expedited procedures to seek a preliminary or permanent injunction which could require an agency to provide access to an upcoming meeting. N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. Art. 63 (McKinney 1980). As part of the relief granted, courts have ordered a public body to admit the general public to public meetings in the future and have enjoined the public body from excluding the public from future meetings other than legitimately convened executive sessions.

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  • North Carolina

    The North Carolina Open Meetings Law provides direct and immediate access to the courts by any person who is barred from attending a meeting of a public body or who otherwise becomes aware of a threatened or actual violation of the Open Meetings Law. The aggrieved person is not required to complain or appeal to the public body, to exhaust any administrative remedies, or to comply with any other requirements or prerequisites before filing suit.

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  • Ohio

    The statute does not provide for expedited procedure. However, the remedies of injunction and mandamus often receive expedited treatment by the courts where it is apparent that fast action is needed to provide relief. See Ohio Rev. Code § 2501.09.

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  • Oklahoma

    The act does not provide for an expedited procedure to challenge a refusal to attend a future meeting. The two available means of relief would be to seek an injunction in District Court or to seek a writ of mandamus from the State Supreme Court.

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  • Pennsylvania

    There is no provision in the statute for expedited consideration of a Sunshine Act suit. Such considerations can be obtained by request, or by seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction.

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  • South Carolina

    No, but a court of equity will in the appropriate circumstances require the public body to appear in court to show cause why it should not be enjoined from holding a meeting closed to the public when the law requires the meeting to be open to the public. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-100.

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  • South Dakota

    No, but as a practical matter mandamus or prohibition actions are generally expedited remedies. SDCL Chaps. 21-29 and 21-30.

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  • Tennessee

    The Act makes no provision for expedited review of a request to attend upcoming meetings.

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  • Texas

    Generally, injunctions and petitions for writ of mandamus are reviewed by the Courts on a more expedited basis.  If a party wishes to request attendance at an upcoming meeting, request that the court rule that she is not barred from a meeting or receive a ruling regarding future meetings, she should file a request for injunctive relief.

    There are two general types of injunctions—prohibitory and mandatory.  And, there are three types of injunctive orders—(1) temporary restraining order; (2) temporary injunction; and (3) permanent injunction. Each is extremely detailed and would require the assistance of an attorney.  Their requirements are detailed in Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 680-693a.

    When a party desires that the court require another party to act affirmatively—for example, when the party is requesting that the court rule that she is permitted to attend upcoming meetings (rather than merely to refrain from certain conduct), then she must file a request for a mandatory injunction. RP&R, Inc. v. Territo, 32 S.W.3d 396, 400 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, no pet.) (mandatory injunction required when party requested to receive weekly paychecks).

     

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  • Utah

    The Open Meetings Act does not require any expedited judicial review of requests to attend upcoming meetings. However, expedited remedies are available under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. See Utah R. Civ. P. 65A (temporary restraining orders).

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  • Vermont

    No.  Unless subject to certain exemptions, “all meetings of a public body are declared to be open to the public at all times.”  1 V.S.A. § 312(a).  There is no requirement that members of the public request permission to attend upcoming meetings.

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  • West Virginia

    The Open Meetings Act does not provide for any particular expedited procedure for reviewing a request to attend upcoming meetings, although it does authorize the issuance of an injunction to enforce the statute's provisions. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6. Any citizen of the state may bring an action in circuit court under the statute. Ordinarily no bond will be required unless it appears to the court that the petition was filed solely to harass or delay the governing body. Id.

    Alternatively, the right of access to a pending meeting could be asserted through a petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition, in circuit court or the Supreme Court of Appeals. Such an action would likely be given expedited treatment.

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  • Wisconsin

    The law does not provide any expedited procedure or address the issue specifically.

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