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6. Multi-state or regional bodies

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  • Alaska

    1. General. The OMA does not expressly address multistate or regional bodies, but arguably covers them, at least insofar as Alaska public officials are meeting in their capacity as such. This situation raises questions, however, such as whether the group could be considered a body of the state or a political subdivision of the state, how many Alaska members would suffice to bring the body within the scope of the act, and how many members, Alaskan or not, would trigger the definition of a meeting if the body is covered.
    2. Interstate Compacts. In some instances, legislation establishing or authorizing participation in multistate or regional bodies specifies terms of public access to meetings and records. For example, the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision establishes an Interstate Commission that meets at least annually, and more often upon call of the chair or of 27 or more compacting states. Public notice must be given of all Commission meetings, and meetings must be open to the public except as otherwise provided in the statutory compact, or as set out in rules adopted by the Interstate Commission consistent with principles contained in the Government in Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b). AS 33.36.110(e), (f). The Interstate Commission and any of its committees may close a meeting to the public if it determines by two-thirds vote that an open meeting would be likely to (1) relate solely to the Interstate Commission's internal personnel practices and procedures; (2) disclose matters specifically exempted from disclosure by statute; (3) disclose trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential; (4) involve accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person; (5) disclose information of a personal nature when disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (6) disclose investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes; (7) disclose information contained in or related to examination, operating or condition reports prepared by, or on behalf of or for the use of, the Interstate Commission with respect to a regulated entity for the purpose of regulation or supervision of the entity; (8) disclose information, the premature disclosure of which would significantly endanger the life of a person or the stability of a regulated entity; or (9) specifically relate to the Interstate Commission's issuance of a subpoena or its participation in a civil action or proceeding. AS 33.36.110 Article VI. (f). For every meeting closed under (f) of this provision, the Interstate Commission's chief legal officer shall publicly certify that, in the legal officer's opinion, the meeting may be closed to the public, and shall reference each relevant exemptive provision. The Interstate Commission shall keep minutes that shall fully and clearly describe all matters discussed in any meeting and shall provide a full and accurate summary of any actions taken, and the reasons for the action, including a description of each of the views expressed on any item and the record of any roll call vote as reflected in the vote of each member on the question. All documents considered in connection with any action shall be identified in the minutes. AS 33.36.110 Article VI. (g).

    c. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trust. In August 1991, the U.S. District Court approved a Memorandum Agreement and Consent Decree entered into between the United States and the State of Alaska in settlement of claims to money received for injury, loss and destruction of the natural resources affected by the March 24, 1989, Exxon Valdez oil spill. Federal trustees are appointed by the President, state trustees by the governor. The provisions of the OMA, AS 44.62.310 - .319, apply to a meeting related to the trust in which (1) one or more of the state trustees and one or more of the federal trustees participate, except to the extent that applicable federal law conflicts with AS 44.62.310 or 44.62.312, in which case the applicable federal law governs; or (2) two or more of the state trustees, but none of the federal trustees, participate. AS 37.14.430(a). Notwithstanding section .430(a), the OMA does not apply to a discussion between the trustees outside of a formal meeting about matters related to the trust if, during the discussion, no decision is made and none of the trustees agrees to vote in a particular way. AS 37.14.430(b). The state trustees may discuss the establishment of an official common state position regarding the trust in executive session under AS 44.62.310(b) and (c)(1). AS 37.14.430(c).

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  • Arizona

    The OML may apply depending on a variety of factors such as (a) the group's function or (b) who appointed the members and how they were appointed.

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  • Arkansas

    The meetings of multistate or regional bodies must be held in accordance with the FOIA, as must a joint meeting of two governing bodies. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 85-173; Inf. Att’y Gen. Op. (Aug. 31, 1987).
    Under Act 253 of 2001, the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision created by interstate compact must give public notice of all its meetings, which “shall be open to the public, except as set forth in the rules or as otherwise provided in the compact.” Act 253 of 2001, art. VII(f)(1). The commission and any of its committees “may close a meeting to the public where it determines by two-thirds vote” that an open meeting would be “likely” to: relate to internal personnel practices; disclose trade secrets or other confidential information; involve accusing someone of a crime or the formal censure of a person; disclose information of a personal nature which, if made public, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; disclose investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes; disclose records relating to the commission’s regulation or supervision of an entity; disclose information which, if made public, would endanger the life of a person or the stability of a regulated entity; or relate to the commission’s issuance of a subpoena or its participation in a civil action or proceeding. Act 253 of 2001, art. VII(f)(3).

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  • California

    A multistate body could presumably be subject to the Bagley-Keene Act if a member of a state body serves on it in his or her official capacity and the multistate body is supported by funds from a state body. See Cal. Gov't Code § 11121(d).

    Regional bodies, if they fall within the definition of a "state body" in the Bagley-Keene Act or "legislative body" of a "local agency" in the Brown Act, would be governed by the open meeting requirements of that Act. For example, a planning commission is subject to the Brown Act. 73 Ops. Cal. Atty. Gen. 1 (1990).

    An interagency police department task force is a "local agency" subject to the Brown Act where the agency was formed as a separate legal entity under the Joint Exercise Powers Act, pursuant to written agreements by the participating city councils, and where the agency had a budget of more than $9 million and had the authority to enter into contracts. McKee v. Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehensive Crime Task Force, 134 Cal. App. 4th 354, 359, 36 Cal. Rptr. 3d 47 (2005).

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  • Colorado

    Not specified.

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  • Connecticut

    FOIA applies to regional bodies, but there are no provisions or reported authority concerning multistate bodies. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-200(1)(A).

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  • Delaware

    These bodies are covered if they (i) are supported in whole or in part by any public funds; (ii) expend or disburse any public funds, including grants, gifts or other similar disbursals and distributions; or (iii) are impliedly or specifically charged by any other public official, body or agency to advise or to make reports, investigations or recommendations. Delaware Solid Waste Auth. v. News-Journal Co., 480 A.2d 628 (Del. 1984).

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Georgia

    Intra-state regional bodies are subject to the Act.  O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(a)(1)(D).  The Act does not address multi-state bodies and no cases have addressed the applicability of the Act to such bodies.

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  • Hawaii

    It is unlikely, although not impossible, that such organizations will meet the Sunshine Law definition of "board."

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  • Idaho

    Regional bodies within the State of Idaho, such as planning authorities, are subject to the Open Meeting Law if they are created by or pursuant to statute. Idaho Code § 74-202(4)(b). The law does not expressly encompass multistate bodies, although its language is broad enough to arguably include them within its scope so long as they are created by or pursuant to statute. The law does not address any jurisdictional disputes that might be raised in attempting to impose the law's requirements upon a multistate body.

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  • Illinois

    There is no case law in which the question of whether a multistate body is subject to the Act is addressed. A regional body operating entirely within the state is more than likely subject to the Act if it is composed of representatives of government.

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  • Indiana

    Though the law does not specifically address multistate or regional bodies, if these bodies fit the definition of a public agency, they would be covered by the Act. See Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-2(a).

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  • Iowa

    Not addressed.

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  • Kansas

    Those receiving or expending public funds and supported in whole or in part by public funds are subject to KOMA, K.S.A. 75-4318(a).

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  • Kentucky

    Multistate or regional bodies are included in the Open Meetings Act. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.805(2).

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  • Louisiana

    Multistate bodies are not referred to in the statute. Regional planning bodies with jurisdiction limited to Louisiana would be covered. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:13(3): “‘Public body’ means . . . planning, zoning, and airport commissions; and any other . . . special district boards, commissions, or authorities, and those of any political subdivision thereof, where such body possesses policy making, advisory, or administrative functions, including any committee or subcommittee of any of these bodies enumerated in this paragraph.”

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  • Maine

    There is no precedent on multi-state bodies, but regional bodies composed of public officials are covered by the Act.  See 1 M.R.S.A. § 402(2)(C) (public proceedings of “any regional or other political or administrative subdivision” is subject to the Act); cf Hughes Bros., Inc. v. Town of Eddington, 2016 ME 13, ¶ 26, 130 A.3d 978 (recognizing that municipal boards may meet jointly and may jointly go into executive session “to  jointly consult with counsel about how to comply with the law in carrying out their respective duties”).

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  • Maryland

    Under the Act's definition of a public body, it appears to only be applicable to state or local public bodies. See § 3-101(h); cf., C.T Helmuth and Assocs. v. Washington Metro Area Trans. Auth., 414 F. Supp. 408, 409 (D. Md. 1976) (holding that interstate transit authority is not subject to the Act absent some agreement between the states to an interstate compact). The Appalachian States Low Level Radioactive Waste Commission has been expressly exempt from the Act. § 3-101(h)(3)(v).

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  • Massachusetts

    Regional bodies are covered. Multi-state bodies do not appear to be covered. See G.L. c. 30A, § 18 (definition of "public body").

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  • Michigan

    The definition of "public body" in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.262(a) refers to only state and local bodies. Compare the FOIA's definition, which includes "regional" governing bodies. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.232(b)(iii).

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  • Montana

    Multistate or regional bodies that receive public funds are subject to the law. See Mont. Code Ann § 2-3-203(1).

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  • Nebraska

    No case law. There is a serious federal constitutional question whether a state can unilaterally enforce its laws against an agency created by an interstate compact of which the state is a member and to which Congress has given its consent. The Nebraska Attorney General has opined that the open meeting law does not apply to the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission, an administrative body created by an interstate compact. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 89008 (2-14-89).

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  • Nevada

    If the multi-state or regional body is an administrative, advisory, executive or legislative body composed of public bodies or is created by a governmental entity, then it likely is subject to the OML.

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  • New Hampshire

    RSA 91-A:1-a,VI(e) defines “public body” to include: “Any corporation that has as its sole member the state of New Hampshire, any county, town, municipal corporation, school district, school administrative unit, village district, or other political subdivision, and that is determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a tax exempt organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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  • New Jersey

    There are no reported cases applying the Sunshine Law to multistate or regional bodies.

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  • New Mexico

    Such may be subject to the Open Meetings Law if they exercise any authority of any state board, commission, or other policymaking body.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(B).

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  • North Carolina

    Although the Open Meetings Law does not expressly address multistate bodies, it seems clear that a delegation of two or more members appointed by a political subdivision of North Carolina would constitute a “public body” subject to the Open Meetings Law.

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  • North Dakota

    There is no specific statutory provision regarding such bodies.

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  • Ohio

    A gathering of officials from several political subdivisions is subject to the sunshine law where the majority of the members of several public bodies are together. State ex rel. The Fairfield Leader v. Ricketts, 56 Ohio St. 3d 97, 564 N.E.2d 486 (1990). The statute does not expressly address multistate bodies, nor does case law.

    Regional bodies within the state are subject to the statute. Stegall v. Joint Two Dist. Memorial Hosp., 20 Ohio App. 3d 100, 484 N.E.2d 1381 (1985); Ohio Rev. Code § 715.70 (board of directors of joint economic development districts); Ohio Rev. Code § 1710.02 (special improvement districts).

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  • Oklahoma

    If a body is supported by public funds or has actual or de facto decision-making authority to bind a governmental body, then a multistate or regional body is subject to the act. 1981 OK AG 311. An entity that is formed by multiple counties pursuant to statutory authorization and performs a delegated function, such as self-insurance, that would otherwise be done by the individual counties and that receives funding from such county governments is subject to the Act. 1999 OK AG 37.

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  • Oregon

    The Attorney General believes these agencies may be subject to the Public Meetings Law if their Oregon members constitute a majority or if they have a committee with a majority of Oregon members that is authorized to make decisions. See Attorney General Manual II.B.3.

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  • Rhode Island

    The OML limits coverage to public bodies “of state or municipal government.”  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-2(3).

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  • South Carolina

    If the body meets the definition of a public body under the act, that is a body supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, it would be subject to the act. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-20(a).

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  • South Dakota

    These bodies are not specifically covered.

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  • Tennessee

    No authority has addressed whether the Tennessee Act covers multistate or regional bodies.

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  • Texas

    Multistate or regional bodies are not specifically mentioned in the Act, although the definition of a “meeting” includes a deliberation between a quorum of a governmental body and “another person.” § 551.001(4). Such a body also may fit the definition of a “special district” covered by the Act. See Sierra Club v. Austin Trans. Study Policy Advisory Comm., 746 S.W.2d 298, 301 (Tex. App.—Austin 1988, writ denied) (a 17-member committee of state, county, regional and municipal public officials was a “special district” subject to the Act because it had decision-making powers).

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  • Utah

    The Open Meetings Act does not state whether multistate or regional bodies (such as planning authorities) fall within its scope. However, if a quorum of a public body meets at a multistate or regional meeting, and discusses or takes action on a subject over which the public body has jurisdiction, the Open Meetings Act arguably should apply. See Utah Code § 52-4-103(9).

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  • Vermont

    Not addressed.

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  • Virginia

    These bodies are not statutorily exempt from the Act.

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  • Washington

    Other than the policy group of publicly owned utilities mentioned above, there is no specific coverage for multistate or regional bodies. A federal court has held that meetings of interstate advisory committees are not subject to the Act where the governing body of any particular state agency did not attend nor did the multistate body have any final authority. United States v. State of Oregon, 699 F. Supp. 1456 (D. Or. 1988), aff’d, 913 F.2d 576 (9th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1250 (1991).

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  • West Virginia

    Where a multistate or regional body holds a meeting in this state, the threshold question is whether it is a "public agency" under the Open Meetings Act. The statute's definition of public agency is limited to agencies of government in this state, whether it be on the local, county, or state level of government. The fact that the membership of these two bodies is not limited to this state, but includes other states, seems to preclude the Act from being applied to the entire multistate or regional body. However, to the extent a multistate or regional body consists in part of state representatives who form a public agency within the larger organization, this West Virginia public agency would be subject to the Act.

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  • Wyoming

    If the body was created by the Wyoming constitution, statute or ordinance, and is a multimember body, the Public Meeting Law should apply. Id.

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