Skip to content

B. How to start


  • Arizona

    The OML expressly provides that an action may be brought in “the superior court in the county in which the public body ordinarily meets.”  A.R.S. § 38-431.07(A).

    No Arizona statute requires or provides for administrative proceedings for resolving OML violations.

    view more
  • Arkansas

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

    view more
  • Colorado

    The right of access to public meetings is enforced through court injunctions.

    view more
  • Connecticut

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

    view more
  • Delaware

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    Not specifically addressed.

    view more
  • Georgia

    Absent the successful pursuit of informal relief with the agency directly or through the Office of Attorney General’s mediation program, compliance must be sought in court.

    view more
  • Idaho

    The initial protest of an informal nature should be directed at the governing body and/or the head of the public agency (e.g., the city council and the mayor), if the violation is apparent before it occurs or during its occurrence. However, there is no specific requirement in the law that a protest be filed with the agency or governing board prior to a court action. Nonetheless, and as a practical matter, anyone who believes that a violation of the Open Meetings Act has occurred may submit a written notice of such alleged violation to the public agency at issue.  Idaho Code § 74-208(7)(a)(ii).  This submission triggers a fourteen (14) day response period by that agency during which it must either acknowledge the open meeting violation and state an intent to cure or state that the agency has determined that no violation has occurred.  Failure to respond within the fourteen (14) day period “shall be treated as a denial of any violation for purposes of proceeding with any enforcement action.”  Id.  Any agency acknowledging a violation of the open meeting act shall have fourteen (14) days to cure such violation.  Idaho Code § 74-208(7)(b).  All enforcement actions shall be stayed during the response and cure period but may recommence at the discretion of the complainant after the cure period has expired.  Idaho Code § 74-208(7)(c). 

    The state attorney general has specific responsibility for enforcing the Open Meeting Law in relation to state agencies. Idaho Code 74-208(5). In addition, an informal or formal opinion from the attorney general’s office as to the propriety of agency action in relation to the Open Meeting Law is often a sound alternative to litigation.

    Court rulings may be obtained by proceeding under Idaho Code § 74-208(6).

    A person affected by a violation of the law may commence a civil action in the magistrate division of the district court of the county where the public agency ordinarily meets. Idaho Code § 74-208(6).

    view more
  • Kentucky

    The enforcement provisions of the Open Meetings Act are set forth at Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846 and 61.848. A person bringing an Open Meetings Act challenge has the option of initiating proceedings either before the Attorney General or in Circuit Court. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.848(2). In either event, however, the challenger must initiate the process by making a written complaint to the presiding officer of the public agency. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846(1) and 61.848(2).

    The written complaint to the public agency’s presiding officer must state the circumstances which constitute an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act and state what the public agency should do to remedy the alleged violation. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.846(1). The public agency must respond in writing within three (3) business days. Id. An agency's response denying, in whole or in part, the complaint's requirements for remedying the alleged violation must include a statement of the specific statute or statutes supporting the public agency's denial and a brief explanation of how the statute or statutes apply. Id.

    view more
  • Michigan

    The OMA does not provide for administrative review.

    view more
  • Minnesota

    The only forum available to challenge closure decisions is an action in state district court where the administrative body is located. Minn. Stat. § 13D.06, subd. 2.

    view more
  • Montana

    The petition for relief may be styled in any way that alleges violation of the Montana Constitutional provision and/or Montana open meetings law. It requires no administrative remedy, so there is no exhaustion issue. The matter may be started directly in district court and most courts will expedite resolution of open meetings requests.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    There is no provision for an administrative challenge to any action of a public body taken in noncompliance with the OPMA. All challenges must be made to the Superior Court by way of an action in lieu of prerogative writ. See N.J.S.A. 10:4-15 and 10:4-16.

    view more
  • North Dakota

    Although no formal administrative appeal process is established by statute, taking the following steps will often open the doors to a meeting (or dissuade a board from retiring to executive session).

    1. Identify yourself and the organization you represent, if any.

    2. State that you “object” to the closure of the meeting and ask that your objection be recorded in the minutes (or other record of the proceeding).

    3. Refer the board (or judge or other entity) to the open meetings provisions of the North Dakota Constitution (Article XI, Section 5) and the Century Code (N.D.C.C. § 44-04-19) and remind them that it is a crime for them to close the meeting.

    4. If the board (or judge or other entity) refuses to open the meeting, request that the meeting be delayed until you have the opportunity to contact appropriate officials and/or your attorney and to bring legal action to determine if the meeting should be opened.

    5. Contact the state’s attorney (for county and local officials), the city attorney (for city officials), and/or the attorney general’s office and ask them to speak directly to the presiding officer.

    6. Contact and retain a private attorney who is familiar with the open meetings law to seek appropriate action.

    In conducting these steps, speak with respect, but speak forcefully. Record your statements in the best manner available.

    view more
  • Ohio

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

    view more
  • Tennessee

    Tennessee has no administrative review of denial of access. Therefore, the way to seek review is to file an action in court.

    view more
  • Texas

    The Act permits immediate access to the courts when there is an actual or threatened violation. Tex. Gov’t Code § 551.142. An application for writ of mandamus may be filed in a district court with a show cause order providing for a response within ten days. There are no cases detailing whether the show cause procedure is preferred and, on occasion, open meetings cases have been litigated as normal civil lawsuits.

    view more
  • Virginia

    In accordance with the provisions of Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3713, an aggrieved individual may petition the court for a writ of mandamus or an injunction for alleged violations of the Act. The petition must be accompanied by an affidavit showing good cause.

    A form petition for injunctive or mandamus relief under the Act in a general district court [Form DC-495] is available on the Supreme Court of Virginia’s website. See

    view more
  • Washington

    Although it is not required by the Act, a reporter should probably make an oral protest and urge the agency to keep a meeting open. The reporter might ask the governing body to take a vote as to whether or not to close the meeting, or to allow sufficient time for the reporter to contact an editor or lawyer to further present arguments to the governing body.
    The OPMA is enforced through private civil litigation.

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    If a person is aggrieved by threatened or actual exclusion from a meeting, an initial request in the form of a verified complaint must be made to the attorney general or the local district attorney to commence an action for penalties, declaratory judgment, mandamus or injunctive relief as appropriate. Wis. Stat. § 19.97(1) and (2).

    In the event the district attorney fails to act within 20 days, the person complaining may bring an action on his or her relation in the name, and on behalf of, the state. Wis. Stat. § 19.97(4). In so doing, the person acts as a “private attorney general” and “stands in the shoes of the state enforcing not only her own right, but also, the rights of the citizens of this state to open government.” State ex rel. Lawton v. Town of Barton, 2005 WI App 16, ¶ 15, 278 Wis. 2d 388, 398, 692 N.W.2d 304, 309.

    The complaint should normally state the time and place of the meeting, the persons present who are members of the governmental body, the subject matter under discussion and the specific violation alleged, i.e., exclusion, secret ballot or the like.

    After action is commenced, either by the attorney general, the district attorney, or the aggrieved party, the offending members of a governmental body have 20 days to answer the complaint.

    There are no other provisions for subsequent or concurrent remedial measures. Trial court decisions may be appealed.

    view more