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1. Sound recordings allowed

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  • Alabama

    The Alabama Open Meetings Act allows open meetings to be recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder or any other means of sonic, photographic or video reproduction provided the recording does not disrupt the conduct of the meeting. Ala. Code § 36-25A-.

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  • Alaska

    Although audio and video recording and photographing of public meetings is customarily done, the state OMA does not address this issue. If this issue arises, the press should argue there is a legal right to photograph or record such meetings, either implicit in the OMA, or arising from the common law or constitution. Be aware, however, that in the context of access to judicial proceedings, the courts have held there is a right to attend and observe court proceedings, but no right to record. Recording in the courts is considered a privilege governed by court rules. See Alaska Rules of Court, Administrative Rule 50. (Note that as the 2018 update to this Open Government Guide went to press, the Alaska Supreme Court was considering revisions to Rule 50.) There are cases from other jurisdictions dealing with the right to record or photograph at public meetings.

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  • Arizona

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

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  • Arkansas

    Members of the press and the public have the right to make audio recordings of meetings, so long as the mechanics of recording are not disruptive. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 83-213. Similarly, the media have the right to broadcast a meeting “live,” subject to reasonable limitations to prevent disruption or interference with the meeting. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 77-086.

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  • California

    Under both Acts, any person attending an open and public meeting of a state body or a legislative body of a local agency has the right to record and broadcast the proceedings with an audio or video tape recorder or motion picture camera unless the body reasonably finds that the recording disrupts the proceedings by noise, illumination or obstruction of view. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11124.1(a) & (c) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54953.5(a), 54953.6 (Brown Act).

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  • Colorado

    No statutory provisions or case law on this point.

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  • Connecticut

    A meeting open to the public may be photographed, broadcast, or recorded for broadcast, subject to rules prescribed by the agency. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-226. A temporary injunction can be issued pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-226 to enjoin a violation of this provision.

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  • Delaware

    Not addressed.

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Florida

    Members of the public attending a meeting open pursuant to section 286.011 may make a sound recording of such meeting. See Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 77-122 (1977) (any rule prohibiting the use of silent or non-disruptive tape recording devices is unreasonable and arbitrary and is, accordingly, invalid, thus fire control district may not prohibit a citizen from tape recording public meetings).

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  • Georgia

    Sound recordings are expressly permitted. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(c).

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  • Hawaii

    Any person in attendance may make a recording if doing so does not actively interfere with the conduct of the meeting. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-9(c). Executive (closed) meetings are excepted. Id.

    Considerable confusion exists regarding recordings of board meetings. In response to a written request, the executive secretary of the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission refused to grant access to a tape recording of a Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting made by commission staff on the grounds that "any taping of board meetings is purely a personal tool limited to assist our field staff in developing a set of draft minutes, and because no existing statute or regulation requires the mandatory tape recording of a public meeting, no tapes that may be taken of open meetings . . . are retained by this office as public documents." Letter to Audrey Fox Anderson from John A. Parish, Jr., Honolulu Neighborhood Comm'n (Dec. 28, 1983). The Commission's position is now illegal under the UIPA, which requires that access be afforded to any government record in physical form unless it is protected by statutory exemptions. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-3 (1996). The recordings of open meetings if made are government records to which the public must be given access under the laws. Audio Tape Recording of the Comm'n's Pub. Meeting, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 92-13 (Aug. 13, 1992).

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  • Indiana

    The statute permits the public to “observe, and record” public meetings. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-2(a). “Record” is not defined in the Open Door Law, but the Indiana Supreme Court has approved of the definition of “record” as “the reasonable use of recorders, cameras and any other recognized means of recording.” Berry v. Peoples Broad. Corp., 547 N.E.2d 231, 234 (Ind. 1989). The Indiana Supreme Court has held that recordings may be permissible. Id.

    Another statute, Ind. Code Section 4-22-3-2, authorizes live or recorded broadcasts of state administrative agency proceedings. “Record” is not defined or limited to audio. See also Att’y Gen. Op. 84-9 (1984) (“A citizen has the right to be present at a public meeting, other than an executive session, and to record the meeting by videotaping, taping, shorthand, or any other recognized method of recording subject to reasonable restrictions as to equipment and use which may be imposed by the public agency.”). It is customary to allow sound recording of meetings.

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  • Iowa

    Sound and photographic recordings are allowed. "The public may use cameras or recording devices at any open session." Public bodies may make rules to keep meetings "orderly, and free from interference." Iowa Code § 21.7.

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  • Kansas

    Under K.S.A. 75-4318(e), the use of recording devices is permitted subject to reasonable rules to ensure the orderly conduct of the proceedings at such meeting.

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  • Kentucky

    Sound recording is allowed. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.840.

    Although Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.840 only expressly gives the news media the right to record and broadcast a public meeting, the Attorney General has sensibly concluded that a private citizen "should be permitted to tape record a public meeting so long as that person and his or her taping equipment do not interfere with the orderly conduct of the public meeting." 96-OMD-143.

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  • Louisiana

    Anyone present at a public meeting may make a record of the proceedings on video or tape (audio), "film" the proceedings (presumably including both still photography and motion pictures), or broadcast them live. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:23(A); Op. Att'y Gen. 95-277; Op. Att'y Gen. 94-14. But a regulation by a public body prohibiting recording of executive sessions by members does not violate the Open Meeting Law. Dean v. Guste, 414 So.2d 862 (La. App., 4th Cir.), writ denied, 417 So.2d 366 (La.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1070, 103 S.Ct. 489 (1982). The public body shall establish standards to insure proper decorum when lighting, recording, or broadcasting equipment is in use. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 42:23(B); Op. Att'y Gen. 95-277.

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  • Maine

    Any person attending a public proceeding has a right "to make written, taped, or filmed records of the proceedings, or to live broadcast the same, provided the writing, taping, filming or broadcasting does not interfere with the orderly conduct of proceedings." 1 M.R.S.A. § 404. Bodies and agencies are authorized to make reasonable rules and regulations governing these activities but may not prohibit them. Id.

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  • Maryland

    Public bodies must adopt and enforce reasonable rules to regulate videotaping, televising, photographing, broadcasting, or recording its meetings. § 3-303. Prohibiting recording is not a “reasonable rule” under the statute. 3 OMCB Opinions 356 (2003).

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  • Massachusetts

    These are allowed, except for executive sessions or where recording would be "active interference with the conduct of the meeting." G.L. c. 39, § 23B.

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  • Minnesota

    The Open Meeting Law is silent on this issue. As a matter of practice, many public bodies regularly televise their meetings and make the telecasts available on local access cable channels. To date, the question of whether members of the public may individually record those television broadcasts has not been addressed.

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  • Mississippi

    The public body may "make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations for the conduct of persons attending its meetings." § 25-41-9. Tape recording must be allowed so long as it does not interfere with the orderly conduct of the meeting. Op. Att'y Gen. Sept. 18, 1985 to Stanford Young. See also Op. Att'y Gen. Nov. 20, 1991 to Leslie Scott ("creating a rule which expressly prohibits all sound equipment is not reasonable. The commission could only bar sound equipment in the hearing if the equipment seriously disrupts the orderly flow of the meeting"). See also Op. Att'y Gen. Sept. 6, 1990 to Henry L. Lackey ("whether television and radio coverage disrupts a meeting are questions of fact to be determined by public officials charged with the responsibility to enforce reasonable rules and regulations for the conduct of persons attending open meetings"); Op. Att'y Gen. May 3, 1990 to Fred Garrett.

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  • Montana

    Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-211, guarantees attendees the right to take photographs, televise, or record meetings so long as these activities do not interfere with the conduct of the meeting. The judicial branch follows the ABA standards on recording or televising court proceedings. Generally, the district courts, both federal and state are vested with discretion to regulate the recording of any judicial proceeding to guarantee the decorum of the court.

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  • Nebraska

    All or any part of a meeting of a public body, except for closed sessions may be videotaped, televised, photographed, broadcast, or recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, camera, video equipment, or any other means of pictorial or sonic reproduction or in writing.

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  • Nevada

    Sound recordings or any other means of sound reproduction are permissible so long as they do not interfere with the conduct of the meeting. NRS 241.035(3).

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  • New Hampshire

    Persons attending the meetings have the right "to use recording devices, including, but not limited to, tape recorders, cameras and videotape equipment." RSA 91-A:2,II. Although the Statute does not specifically authorize live broadcast, it would appear that news organizations may do so if the broadcast can be accomplished by a "recording device." An audio recording of a public meeting to be used to compile the minutes is a public record, and the public has a right to listen to it and make a copy. RSA 91-A:4, II.

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  • New Mexico

    Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the use of audio and video recording devices.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(A).  If meetings are recorded, the recording is a matter of public record, and an agency cannot deny access to it on the basis that the recording was not originally required to be made.  See New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, Inspection of Public Records Act Compliance Guide, 26 (8th ed. 2015).

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  • New York

    See e.g., Mitchell v. Board of Educ., 113 A.D.2d 924, 493 N.Y.S.2d 826 (2d Dep’t 1985); People v. Ystueta, 99 Misc.2d 1105, 418 N.Y.S.2d 508 (Dist. Ct., Suffolk Cty., June 5, 1979) (by-law prohibiting tape recording of meeting violates OML); Feldman v. Town of Bethel, 106 A.D.2d 695, 484 N.Y.S.2d 147 (3d Dep’t 1984) (although plaintiff did apparently have the authority to tape record a public meeting, he could not under Penal Law § 240.20(4), with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm and without lawful authority, disturb any lawful assembly or meeting).

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  • North Carolina

    The Open Meetings Law provides, in G.S. § 143-318.14, that “any person” may photograph, film, tape-record, or otherwise reproduce any part of a meeting required to be open.

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  • Ohio

    1. Sound recordings allowed.

    The statute contains no provisions authorizing or prohibiting the tape recording of meetings.

    An Ohio Attorney General's Opinion states that audio or video recording of meetings is permissible if it does not unduly interfere with the meeting. 1988 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 88-087.

    Audio and video taping of meetings by news organizations is fairly common.

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  • Oklahoma

    Any person may record "by videotape, audiotape or by any other method" a public meeting provided the act of recording does not interfere with the conduct of the meeting. 25 O.S. § 312.C.

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  • Oregon

    There are no statutory provisions dealing with private recordings of the proceedings. The Attorney General has determined that members of the public cannot be prevented from “unobtrusively recording” proceedings. 38 Op. Atty. Gen. 50 (1976). The presiding officer of the governing body has the authority to impose reasonable restrictions for the efficient and orderly conduct of a meeting, however.

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  • Pennsylvania

    The Act gives the public the right to use “recording devices” to record the proceedings. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 711. Meetings of the General Assembly are excepted; the House and Senate may adopt their own rules regarding broadcasting or recording. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 711(b). Any agency may adopt reasonable rules for the maintenance of order at its meetings, although the rules may not preclude recording. Hain v. Bd. of Dirs. of Reading Sch. Dist., 641 A.2d 661, 663-64 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1996). In Harman v. Wetzel, 766 F. Supp. 271 (E.D. Pa. 1991), the court determined that any citizen who attends a zoning hearing may record it, and any citizen who makes a statement at the hearing should expect it to be recorded.

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  • Rhode Island

    No specific provision in statute, but allowed by case law.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island found a prohibition against taping meetings without the express knowledge and consent of a school committee to be unconstitutional.  The court found that the OML required the school committee to allow members of the press and the public to tape record its meetings, subject to reasonable restrictions.  Belcher v. Mansi, 569 F.Supp. 379 (D. R.I. 1983).

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  • South Carolina

    Tape recording of public meetings is allowed. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-90(c).

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  • South Dakota

    SDCL §1-25-11 allows a person to record a public meeting “through video or audio technology…as long as the recording is reasonable, obvious, and not disruptive.”

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  • Tennessee

    Yes, subject to reasonable restrictions.

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  • Texas

    A person in attendance may record all or any part of an open meeting by means of a tape recorder, video camera, or other means of aural or visual reproduction. Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.023(a). The use of tape recorders are permitted at public meetings but not at executive sessions of same public bodies. Zamora v. Edgewood Indep. School Dist., 592 S.W.2d 649 (Tex. Civ. App.—Beaumont 1979, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (member of board of trustees for school district was not entitled to tape record proceedings of board in executive session against wishes of majority of the board).

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  • Utah

    Utah Code section 52-4-203(5) states that “[a]ll or any part of an open meeting may be independently recorded by any person in attendance if the recording does not interfere with the conduct of the meeting.”

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  • Vermont

    “A public body shall electronically record all public hearings held to provide a forum for public comment on a proposed rule, pursuant to 3 V.S.A. § 840. The public shall have access to copies of such electronic recordings” as public records.  1 V.S.A. § 312(a)(1).

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  • Virginia

    Any person may record any portion of a meeting required to be open. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.G.

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  • West Virginia

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

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  • Wyoming

    The requirement that minutes be taken at a meeting merely states that minutes must be "recorded"; the statute is silent as to the method of recording. Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-403(c). In the absence of any contradicting law or holding Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-201(a)(v) includes a sound recording in the definition of "public record." A state district court judge has allowed a videotape recording of a school board meeting as long as the meeting was not disrupted.

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