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a. Definition

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  • Alabama

    The Alabama Open Meetings Act defines the term "meeting" to include:

    (1) the prearranged gathering of a quorum of a governmental body or a quorum of a committee or subcommittee of a governmental body at a time and place which is set by law or operation of law;

    (2) the prearranged gathering of a quorum of a governmental body or a quorum of a committee or subcommittee of a governmental body during which the full governmental body, committee, or subcommittee of the governmental body is authorized, either by law or otherwise, to exercise the powers which it possesses or approve the expenditure of public funds;

    (3) the gathering, whether or not it was prearranged, of a quorum of a governmental body during which the members of the governmental body deliberate specific matters that, at the time of the exchange, the participating members expect to come before the full governmental body at a later date;

    (4) the gathering, whether or not it was prearranged, of a quorum of a committee or subcommittee of a governmental body during which the members of the committee or subcommittee deliberate specific matters relating to the purpose of the committee or subcommittee that, at the time of the exchange, the participating members expect to come before the full governmental body, committee, or subcommittee at a later date; and

    (5) serial meetings.

    Ala. Code § 36-25A-2(6) & (13).

    Several statutes require an entity to hold "regular" meetings at specified intervals. See, e.g., Ala. Code § 11-43C-28 (1994) ("council shall hold regular public meetings weekly").

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  • Alaska

    The OMA does not define "meeting" as a gathering of the requisite number of members of the governmental body when a matter upon which the governmental body is empowered to act is considered by the members collectively, and the Alaska Supreme Court has held that "'meeting' includes every step of the deliberative and decision-making process when a governmental unit meets to transact public business." Brookwood Area Homeowners Ass'n, 702 P.2d at 1323. Where the governmental body is purely advisory, gatherings of any number of members of the body do not constitute meetings unless they are pre-arranged for the purpose of considering a matter upon which the governmental body is empowered to act. If the governmental body has authority to establish policies or make decisions for the public entity, rather than being purely advisory, the fact that the meeting was not pre-arranged, or not pre-arranged for the purpose of considering the business of the body, is immaterial. The OMA does not draw distinctions between categories of meetings subject to the law, such as "regular" or "special" meetings. Attorney General opinions do address such distinctions, and provisions dealing with meetings in municipal government charters and codes often do so as well.

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  • Arizona

    As noted above, “meeting” means “the gathering, in person or through technological devices, of a quorum of members of a public body at which they discuss, propose or take legal action, including any deliberations by a quorum with respect to such action.”  A.R.S. § 38-431(4).

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  • Arkansas

    The FOIA applies to “all meetings, formal or informal, special or regular.” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(a). There is no definition of “regular” meetings; in practice, however, the term apparently refers to regularly scheduled meetings of governing bodies. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 93-299.

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  • California

    Neither the Bagley-Keene Act nor Brown Act defines the term "regular meeting." The Brown Act requires that each legislative body of a local agency, except for advisory or standing committees, provide by ordinance, resolution, bylaws or other rule the time and place for holding "regular meetings." Cal. Gov't Code § 54954(a). A meeting of an advisory or standing committee, where an agenda is posted at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting, is considered a regular meeting of the legislative body. Cal. Gov't Code § 54954(a). Regular and special meetings must be held within the jurisdictional boundaries of the legislative body. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54954(b).

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  • Colorado

    The statute does not distinguish between "regular" and "special" meetings. A general definition of "meeting" is provided under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(1)(b) as "any kind of gathering, convened to discuss public business, in person, by telephone, electronically, or by other means of communication." Id.

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  • Connecticut

    A "regular meeting" is not specifically defined in FOIA.

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  • Delaware

    A "regularly scheduled meeting" shall mean any meeting of a public body held on a periodic basis. 29 Del. C. § 10004(g)(2).

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  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Florida

    There is no specified definition for a “regular” meeting.  The Sunshine Law extends to formal action taken by a board or commission as well as less formal the discussions and deliberations. There is no requirement that a quorum be present for a meeting of members of a public board or commission to be subject to Fla. Stat. § 286.011. Rather, the law is applicable to any gathering, whether formal or casual, of two or more members of the same board or commission to discuss some matter on which foreseeable action will be taken by the public board or commission. Hough v. Stembridge, 278 So. 2d 288 (Fla. 3d DCA 1973); see also City of Miami Beach v. Berns, 245 So. 2d 38 (Fla. 1971); Bd. of Public Instruction of Broward Cty. v. Doran, 224 So. 2d 693 (Fla. 1969).

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  • Georgia

    There is no statutory definition of “regular,” the term being understood in practice to refer to an agency’s customary, usual or normal schedule of meetings. The Act requires agencies to hold meetings in accordance with a regular schedule. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d)(1).

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  • Hawaii

    A "meeting" is defined as "the convening of a board for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision upon a matter over which the board has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-2.

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  • Idaho

    A “regular meeting” means the convening of a governing body of a public agency on the date fixed by law or rule, to conduct the business of the agency. Idaho Code § 74-202(6)(a).

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  • Illinois

    The Act does not define the term "regular meeting."

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  • Indiana

    The statute addresses, but does not define, “regular” meetings. See Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-5(c); § 5-14-1.5-7.5(b).

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  • Iowa

    The statute does not distinguish between regular and other types of meetings. It applies to gatherings "in person or by electronic means, formal or informal." Iowa Code § 21.2(2).

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  • Kansas

    "Any gathering, assembly, telephone call or any other means of interactive communication by a majority of the membership of a body or agency subject to this act for the purpose of discussing the business or affairs of the body or agency." K.S.A. 75-4317a. Telephone calls between county commissioners were not "meetings" under the prior statutes. State Ex Rel. Stephan v. Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs, 254 Kan. 446, 866 P.2d 1024 (1994).

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  • Kentucky

    A "regular" meeting is one held on a regularly scheduled basis. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.820. In order to qualify as a “regular” meeting under Kentucky’s Open Meetings Act, the meeting must be scheduled by ordinance, order, resolution, bylaws, or by whatever other means may be required for the conduct of business of that public agency, and the schedule of regular meetings must be made available to the public. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.820(2).

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  • Louisiana

    The statute does not define "regular meeting." Notice provisions apply to "regular, special, or rescheduled" meetings. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1).

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  • Maine

    All meetings are subject to the law. The term “meeting” is not defined by the Act.  See 1 M.R.S.A. § 406.  There is no requirement that a quorum be present so long as a body consists of three or more persons.  Id.

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  • Maryland

    The Act makes no distinction between regular, special, emergency, formal or informal meetings. See City of New Carrollton v. Rogers, 287 Md. 56, 410 A.2d 1070 (1980); but see § 3-302.1(b) (requiring that a public body must make available, upon request, the agenda of a meeting called in response to an emergency, natural disaster, or other unanticipated situation).

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  • Massachusetts

    "Any corporal convening and deliberation of a governmental body for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision at which any public business or public policy matter over which the governmental body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power is discussed or considered." G.L. c. 39, §  23A. At least one case tends to construe "meeting" narrowly. Medlock v. Board of Trustees of University of Massachusetts, 31 Mass. App. Ct. 495, 580 N.E.2d 387 (1991) (animal use and care committees at state medical school held not to consider public policy matters and therefore to be exempt from OML). See also Globe Newspaper Co. v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Retirement Board, 416 Mass. 1007, 622 N.E.2d 265 (1993) (records of public agency retirement board created by collective bargaining agreement are not public records).

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  • Michigan

    Regular meetings, which are regulated under Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265, are not defined within the OMA, nor does the Act specifically require public bodies to establish regular meetings schedules. 1977-78 Op. Att'y Gen. 21, 37 (1977). However, where such a schedule is established, it must be posted yearly. See Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(2).

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  • Minnesota

    Although the term "regular" meeting is used in the statute, it is not otherwise defined. Minn. Stat. § 13D.04, subd. 1. By implication, however, any regularly scheduled meeting, that is, one that is held at a regularly scheduled time and place, is a "regular" meeting.

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  • Mississippi

    “Meeting” means an assemblage of members of a public body at which official acts may be taken upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power. “Meeting” also means any such assemblage through the use of video or teleconference devices.

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  • Montana

    There is no statutory distinction between "regular" or "special" meetings. A meeting takes place whenever there is a gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-202.

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  • Nebraska

    The definition of regular meetings, together with notice publication requirements, are sometimes contained in separate statutes governing each individual board, agency, etc.

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  • Nevada

    The OML does not define or distinguish regular meetings, except as opposed to an emergency meeting.

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  • New Hampshire

    The Statute does not distinguish between regular and special meetings. RSA 91-A:2, I.

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  • New Jersey

    Those meetings listed in the schedule of regular meetings adopted by the public body at its annual reorganization meeting or, if no reorganization meeting is held, then by January 10 of each year.

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  • New Mexico

    Emergency refers to unforeseen circumstances that, if not addressed immediately, will likely result in injury or damages to persons or property or substantial financial loss to the public body.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(F).

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  • New York

    “Meeting” is defined by the statute as “the official convening of a public body for the purpose of conducting public business,” including meetings convened via videoconferencing.  N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 102(1).

    “[T]he courts have construed the Open Meetings Law liberally and have held that gatherings by a public body to discuss public business fall within its provisions,” provided a quorum is present, even if no formal action is taken. Britt v. Cty. of Niagara, 82 A.D.2d 65, 440 N.Y.S.2d 790 (4th Dep’t 1981). See also Orange Cty. Publications v. Council of Newburgh, 60 A.D.2d 409, 401 N.Y.S.2d 84 (2d Dep’t 1978), aff’d, 45 N.Y.2d 947, 383 N.E.2d 1157, 411 N.Y.S.2d 564 (1978). But see Hill v. Planning Bd., 140 A.D.2d 967, 529 N.Y.S.2d 642 (4th Dep’t 1988) (conference of several members of planning board with town attorney regarding prior action taken was not meeting under OML, as no determinations were made which affected the public).

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  • North Carolina

    “Regular meetings” are not defined in the Open Meetings Law. In essence, they consist of all official meetings except “special meetings” and “emergency meetings.”

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  • North Dakota

    When reasonable and practicable, a governing body of a public entity should attempt to set a regular schedule for its meetings by statute, ordinance, or resolution. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20(3).

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  • Ohio

    The statute does not define the term "regular meetings." A common sense reading of the statute indicates that regular meetings are those that are scheduled in advance at regular intervals as set forth or authorized in statutes or other legal authorities that govern the particular public body that is holding the meeting. See 1988 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 88-029 (a regular meeting is one held at prescheduled intervals).

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  • Oklahoma

    The Act defines "regularly scheduled meeting" as a meeting at which the regular business of the public body is conducted. 25 O.S. § 304.3.

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  • Oregon

    There is no specific definition of a “regular” meeting under the Public Meetings Law. However, ORS 192.640(1) and (3) distinguish between regular meetings and special meetings. Under this scheme, regular meetings appear to be meetings regularly scheduled with significant advance notice.

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  • Pennsylvania

    A regular meeting is any agency meeting that is not a special or emergency meeting.

    Under 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 703, a meeting is defined as: “Any prearranged gathering of an agency which is attended or participated in by a quorum of the members of an agency held for the purpose of deliberating agency business or taking official action.” Id.

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  • Rhode Island

    The OML makes reference to “regularly scheduled meetings” without further definition.

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  • South Carolina

    No express definition, but by implication those meetings that are scheduled to take place on a regular schedule. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80(a).

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  • South Dakota

    Not defined, but includes teleconferences.

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  • Tennessee

    A regular meeting is one that is previously scheduled by statute, ordinance, or resolution. T.C.A. § 8-44-103(a).

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  • Texas

    Every gathering, no matter how informal, of a quorum of a governmental body to deliberate public business must be held in public after proper notice. Acker v. Texas Water Comm'n, 790 S.W.2d 299, 300 (Tex. 1990). Even breakfast sessions fall within this definition. Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. H-785 (1976).

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  • Utah

    All government meetings must be open to the public unless they are closed pursuant to an express exemption in the Open Meetings Act. Utah Code § 52-4-201.

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  • Vermont

    The Open Meeting Law requires that “[a]ll meetings of a public body . . . be open to the public at all times.”  1 V.S.A. § 312(a).  The Open Meeting Law defines a meeting as “a gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body for the purpose of discussing the business of the public body or for the purpose of taking action.”  1 V.S.A. § 310(3)(A).

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  • Virginia

    "Regular meeting" is not a defined term. One may infer from Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.D. that a regular meeting is any meeting not a special or emergency meeting.

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  • Washington

    Regular meetings are “recurring meetings held in accordance with a periodic schedule declared by statute or rule.” RCW 42.30.075.

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  • West Virginia

    As noted previously, a meeting is "the convening of a governing body of a public agency for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to deliberate toward a decision on any matter which results in an official action. The term does not include (A) any meeting for the purpose of making an adjudicatory decision in any quasi-judicial, administrative or court of claims proceeding, (B) any on-site inspection of any project or program, (C) any political party caucus, (D) General discussions among members of a governing body on issues of interest to the public when held in a planned or unplanned social, educational, training, informal, ceremonial or similar setting, without intent to conduct public business even if a quorum is present and public business is discussed but there is no intention for the discussion to lead to an official action; or (E) Discussions by members of a governing body on logistical and procedural methods to schedule and regulate a meeting." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-2(4).

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  • Wisconsin

    "Meeting" means the convening of members of a governmental body for the purpose of exercising the responsibilities, authority, power or duties delegated to or vested in the body. If one-half or more of the members of a governmental body are present, the meeting is rebuttably presumed to be for that purpose. The statutory term "meeting" does not include any social or chance gathering or conference which is not intended to avoid the Open Meetings law. Wis. Stat. § 19.82(2).

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  • Wyoming

    Regular meetings may be defined by specific statutes relating to each governing body. If there is no statute, the governing body shall provide by ordinance, resolution, bylaws or rule for holding meetings. Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(a) (1977, Rev. 1995). If the agency's normal business does not require regular meetings, the agency need only provide notice of its next meeting to any person who requests notice. Id. Under Deering v. Board of Directors, Fremont County Library, 954 P.2d 1359, 1363 (Wyo. 1998), the Court defined regular and special meetings as follows:

    "The term regular meeting (or stated meeting) refers to the periodic business meeting of a permanent . . . board, held at weekly, monthly, quarterly, or similar intervals, for which the day (as, "the first Tuesday of each month") should be prescribed by the bylaws . . . .

    Any business that falls within the objects of the society as defined in its bylaws (or, in the case of a board, any business within the authority of the board) can be transacted at any regular meeting." The Scott, Forseman Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised § 9 at 90-91 (1990 ed); and see Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Ch. 12 at 110 (2d ed. 1996).

    In contrast,

    [a] special meeting (or called meeting) is a separate session of a society held at a time different from that of any regular meeting, and convened only to consider one or more items of business specified in the call of the meeting. . . . The reason for special meetings is to deal with important matters that may arise between regular meetings and that urgently require action by the society before the next regular meeting. . . .

    Robert's Rules, supra, at 91-92; Sturgis, supra, at 110.

    The Court made clear that postponing a regular meeting to a time when regular meetings are not normally scheduled does not make it a special meeting.

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