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b. Notice requirements

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  • Alaska

    Special meetings always require special notice, unless an emergency makes notice impractical or impossible. The latter consists solely of situations that call for immediate action to protect the public peace, health or safety. In other words, in the absence of a situation demanding immediate action to protect the public peace, health or safety, it does not suffice that a meeting is held on such short notice that there is no effective notice. Public bodies must plan ahead, and their failure to do so will not justify their holding a meeting without adequate, effective public notice.

    . . . Even emergency meetings must be noticed, if possible, by calling radio and television stations and the press and by posting.

    May 11, 1981, Attorney General Opinion, at 6. Specific statutes may impose more specific notice requirements. See e.g., AS 14.42.130(b), requiring at least 24 hours notice before a meeting of the Alaska Student Loan Corporation at which the issuance of corporation bonds is authorized.

    Notice of all meetings must be given to the public, and in terms of timing, it is the receipt of notice that counts. Mailing notices to the media three days before a meeting will not suffice, May 11, 1981 Attorney General Opinion, supra, at 6, and where a public service announcement on the radio is used, there must be confidence that the announcement will in fact be made. In addition to the general public notice, the law requires specific notice to any individual that a governmental body proposes to discuss in executive session for the reason that a public discussion could harm that person's reputation or character. In such cases, giving only general public notice, or even giving the individual only notice of the time and place of the upcoming meeting, are inadequate, and the governmental body has an obligation under the OMA to inform the affected individual of the meeting at which the discussion about him or her will take place and to inform the person of the right to request that the meeting be open to the public. University of Alaska v. Geistauts, 666 P.2d at 429. See also, Revelle v. Marston, 898 P.2d 917. Actual notice cures any defect in formal notice under the OMA. Ramsey v. City of Sand Point, 936 P.2d 126, 135 (Alaska 1997).

    The OMA provides that subject to posting notice of a meeting on the Alaska Online Public Notice System as required by AS 44.62.175(a), the notice may be given using print or broadcast media. The notice shall be posted at the principal office of the public entity or, if the public entity has no principal office, at a place designated by the governmental body. The governmental body must provide notice in a consistent fashion for all its meetings. AS 44.62.310(e).

    The Open Meetings Act does not contain any requirement for publication of an agenda or other subject matter notice of items to be discussed at meetings. For years, the wording of the OMA did not make clear whether it requires only notice of the time and place of a meeting, or whether in addition it requires specific notice of subjects to be discussed at meetings. In 1985, the notice provision of the OMA was amended to add: "The notice must include the date, time and place of the meeting, and if the meeting is by teleconference the location of any teleconferencing facilities that will be used." AS 44.62.310(e). This additional language would lend support to an argument that subject matter notice is not required by the language specifying "reasonable public notice." Note that there may be other applicable legal requirements, in the Municipal Code and local ordinances, that do specifically require some form of subject matter notice to certain governmental bodies. See, e.g., AMC 2.30.035(L) (requiring advance publication of agenda for Anchorage Assembly meetings). Section 17.05 of the Anchorage Municipal Charter, a provision identical to § 1.25.010 of the Anchorage Municipal Code, requires municipal agencies to give reasonable advance notice of the subject of each meeting. Tunley v. Municipality of Anchorage, 631 P.2d 67, 81 n.5 (Alaska 1981); Anchorage Independent Longshore Union Local 1 v. Municipality of Anchorage, 672 P.2d 894, 895 (Alaska 1983). In Longshore Union, the Municipality argued that sufficient proper notice had been given, because the matter was "simple," "pro forma," and "ministerial," and the public had notice that matters other than those on the agenda might be discussed since the agenda included a reference to "items not on the agenda." Further, it argued that any alleged deficiencies had been cured because a representative of the plaintiff had received actual notice. The Court held that whether such notice should be deemed to satisfy the requirements of Tunley, or whether any deficiency was cured, involved issues of fact for the trial court to resolve on remand. Id.

    In any event, it seems implicit that notice of an emergency meeting must include subject matter notice advising of the nature of the emergency requiring the meeting.

    A lawsuit to void an action taken in violation of the Open Meetings Act in connection with a special or emergency meeting, as with any other OMA violation, must be filed in superior court within 180 days after the date of the action being challenged. The governmental body that violates or is alleged to have violated the OMA can cure the violation, before or after court action, by holding another meeting in compliance with notice and other requirements of the OMA and conducting a substantial and public reconsideration of the matter as considered at the original meeting. A court may void action taken as the result of a meeting held in violation of the OMA only if it finds that, considering all circumstances, the public interest in compliance with the OMA outweighs the harm that would be caused to the public interest and to the public entity by voiding the action. In making this determination, the court must consider at least the nine factors specified by the legislature in AS 44.62.310(f), as well as any others the court may find relevant.

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  • Arizona

    In the case of an actual emergency, the meeting “may be held on such notice as is appropriate to the circumstances.”  A.R.S. § 38-431.02(D).  But if an emergency session is conducted at a previously scheduled meeting, “the public body must post a public notice within twenty-four hours declaring that an emergency session has been held.”  Id.

    The public body must provide public notice that the emergency session was held.  A.R.S. § 38-431.02(D).

    This public notice must be properly posted (like a notice for a regular meeting) and must include an agenda or, if an executive session, a general description of the matters considered.  A.R.S. § 38-431.02(A), (D), (H), (I).

    The agenda for an emergency meeting must include the same information as required for a regular meeting agenda.  A.R.S. § 38-431.02(D), (H), (I).

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  • Arkansas

    Notice must be given at least two hours prior to the emergency or special meeting. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(b)(2). See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 95-308, 93-299. The FOIA does not specify the form that the notice must take. Whether a particular form (e.g., e-mail, fax, voice-mail) satisfies the act must be determined on a case-by case basis. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 96-074. For example, a notice for a 7:00 a.m. meeting, faxed during the night, is not sufficient if the sender is aware that no one will be present to receive the fax at the time that it is sent. Id. Verbal notice at an earlier public meeting is adequate only if representatives of all media who are entitled to notice are present. Id.

    Notice must be given to news media located in the county where the meeting is to be held and to news media located elsewhere which cover regular meetings of the governing body. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(b)(2). See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 96-074. A request for such notice is necessary. Elmore v. Burke, 337 Ark. 235, 987 S.W.2d 730 (1999); Nance v. Williams, 263 Ark. 237, 564 S.W.2d 212 (1978). A request for notice may be made orally or in writing, Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 99-157, and repeated requests are not required. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 97-327.

    The FOIA does not require that notice of a meeting be posted or that an agency purchase newspaper advertising to inform the public of a meeting. However, other statutes, city ordinances, or administrative regulations may impose this requirement on a particular agency. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 81-30; Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. (Mar. 4, 1969). The FOIA does not require that an agenda or listing of subjects to be considered at the meeting be included in the notice, Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 98-033, but other statutes, ordinances, or regulations may impose such a requirement upon particular governing bodies.

    The notice must contain the “time, place, and date” of the meeting. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(b)(2). The meeting must not be set at a time that would “effectively avoid the public meeting requirement of the FOIA.” Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 92-162. See also Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 95-308, 93-299. If the location of the meeting has changed since notice was initially given, a second notice containing the correct information is required at least two hours before commencement of the meeting. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 97-327. If proper notice is not given, action taken at the meeting may be subject to invalidation. See Rehab Hosp. Servs. Corp. v. Delta-Hills Health Sys. Agency Inc., 285 Ark. 397, 687 S.W.2d 840 (1985).

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  • California

    Special Meetings:

    Bagley-Keene Act. The state body must provide notice of a special meeting to each member of the state body, to all parties who have requested notice, and on the Internet as soon as is practicable after the decision to hold a special meeting has been made. Cal. Gov't Code § 11125.4(b). However, the state body must deliver notice in a manner that allows it to be received by the members and by newspapers of general circulation and radio or television stations at least 48 hours before the special meeting. Id. Notice shall be given to newspapers of general circulation and radio or television stations by providing notice to all national press wire services. Id. Notice must also be posted on the Internet at least 48 hours before the special meeting. Id.

    Notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting, the business to be transacted, and the address of the Internet site where notice is available. Id.

    Notice is required regardless of whether any action is taken at the special meeting. Id.

    Brown Act. Notice of a special meeting shall be delivered and received at least 24 hours prior to the meeting to each member of the legislative body and to each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television stations that requested notice. Cal. Gov't Code § 54956(a).

    The call and notice of a special meeting must be posted at least 24 hours before the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to all members of the public. Id.

    The call and notice must specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted or discussed. Id.

    Emergency Meetings:

    Bagley-Keene Act. Newspapers of general circulation and radio or television stations that have requested notice of meetings pursuant to Section 11125 shall be notified by the presiding officer of the state body, or his designee, one hour prior to the emergency meeting by telephone. Cal. Gov't Code § 11125.5(c). Notice shall also be made available on the Internet as soon as is practicable after the decision to call the emergency meeting has been made. Id. If telephone services are not functioning, the notice requirements are waived and the presiding officer or his designee shall notify those newspapers and radio or television stations of the holding of an emergency meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and any action taken, as soon after the meeting as possible. Id.

    Notice is not required to be posted prior to an emergency meeting. However, the minutes of the meeting, a list of the persons notified or upon whom an attempt to notify was made, a copy of any roll call votes and any action taken at the meeting shall be posted for a minimum of 10 days in a public place as soon after the meeting as possible. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.5(d).

    Emergency meetings have no agenda requirements under the Bagley-Keene Act.

    Brown Act. Each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station that has requested notice of special meetings pursuant to Section 54956 shall be notified by the presiding officer of the legislative body or his designee, one hour prior to the emergency meeting by telephone, or in the case of a dire emergency, at or near the time that the members of the legislative body have been notified of the emergency meeting. Cal. Gov't Code § 54956.5(b)(2). All telephone numbers for the newspaper or station provided in the most recent request for notice shall be exhausted. Id. If telephone services are not functioning, the notice requirements are waived and the legislative body or their designee shall notify the newspapers and stations of the holding of an emergency meeting, the purpose of the meeting and any action taken, as soon after the meeting as possible. Id.

    Notice is not required to be posted prior to an emergency meeting. However, the minutes of the meeting, a list of the persons notified or upon whom an attempt to notify was made, a copy of any roll call votes and any action taken at the meeting shall be posted for a minimum of 10 days in a public place as soon after the meeting as possible. Cal. Gov't Code § 54956.5(e).

    Emergency meetings have no agenda requirements under the Brown Act.

    Penalties: It is a misdemeanor for a member of a legislative body of a local agency or a state body to knowingly attend a meeting where action is taken in violation of any provision of the open meeting laws, where the member intends to deprive the public of information to which it is entitled. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11130.7 (Bagley-Keene Act); Cal. Gov't Code § 54959 (Brown Act).

    Actions: Mandamus, injunctive or declaratory relief is available to stop or prevent violations or threatened violations of the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act, or to determine the application of the statutes to on-going actions or threatened future actions or to determine the application of the statutes to past actions. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11130 (Bagley-Keene Act); 54960 (Brown Act). Additionally, mandamus or injunctive relief is available to declare as null and void an action in violation of the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act. Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 11130.3 (mandamus relief available under Bagley-Keene Act for violations of Sections 11123 (open meetings) or 11125 (notice of meetings)); 54960.1(a) (mandamus relief available under Brown Act for violations of 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)).

    However, under both Acts, the code authorizes nullification of action taken in violation of these provisions only if the action was not in substantial compliance with the requirements. Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 11130.3(b)(3) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54960.1(d)(1) (Brown Act). See Regents of University of California v. Superior Court, 20 Cal. 4th 509, 527, 85 Cal. Rptr. 2d 257, 976 P.2d 808 (1999); see, e.g., Castaic Lake Water Agency v. Newhall County Water Dist., 238 Cal. App. 4th 1196, 1207, 190 Cal. Rtpr. 3d 151 (2015) (description of closed agenda item that cited wrong provision authorizing closed session to confer with counsel over litigation was held to be in substantial compliance with Brown Act); San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center v. County of Merced, 216 Cal. App. 4th 1167, 1177, 157 Cal. Rptr. 3d 458 (2013) (failure to separately disclose consideration of a mitigating negative declaration concerning an environmental project noticed for approval on the agenda held to violate Brown Act); North Pacific LLC v. California Coastal Commission, 166 Cal. App. 4th 1416, 1431-32, 83 Cal. Rptr. 3d 636 (2008) (“[S]tate actions in violation of [the notice] requirements should not be nullified, so long as the state agency’s reasonably effective efforts to notify interested persons of a public meeting serve the statutory objectives of ensuring that state actions taken and deliberations made at such meetings are open to the public.”).

    Additionally, even when technical violations of the Acts are shown, action will not be invalidated absent a showing of prejudice.  See California Coastal Commission, 166 Cal. App. 4th at 1433 (Bagley-Keene Act); Cohan v. City of Thousand Oaks, 30 Cal. App. 4th 547, 555-56, 35 Cal. Rptr. 2d 782 (1994) (Brown Act).

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  • Colorado

    Sec. 24-6-402(2)(c) provides that "full and timely notice to the public" must be given before any public meeting can be held. but see Lewis v. Town of Nederland, 934 P.2d 848, 851 (Colo. App. 1996) (holding that ratification of action taken at an emergency meeting at either the next regular Board meeting or a special meeting where public notice of the emergency has been given, satisfy the requirements of the Open Meetings Law under emergency circumstances).

    Sunshine Law: "Full and timely" notice. § 24-6-402(2)(c) provides that "full and timely notice to the public" must be given before any meeting can be held at which adoption of any proposed policy, position, resolution, rule, regulation, or formal action occurs, or at which a majority or quorum of the body is in attendance or expected to be in attendance.

    "Full and timely notice" is a flexible standard, and the time for giving notice of daily meetings, for example, differs from that of monthly meetings. See Benson v. McCormick, 195 Colo. 381, 578 P.2d 651 (1978).

    Some overt action must be taken by the public body within a reasonable time to give notice to the public that a meeting is to be held. Hyde v. Banking Board, 38 Colo. App. 41, 552 P.2d 32 (1976).

    A local government body is deemed to have given full and timely notice if notice of the meeting is posted in a designated place within the boundaries of the local government body no less than 24 hours before the meeting. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2)(c).

    Notice under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2) must be given to the public, that is, made available to the public by posting notice in an area open to public view, see Hyde v. Banking Board, supra, or by distributing copies of the notice to the media. See Benson v. McCormick, supra. Places of posting notices of local government body meetings shall be designated annually at the body's first regular meeting of each calendar year.

    "Sunshine Lists." Persons who within the previous two years have requested notification of all meetings of a local public body or of meetings where certain specified policies are discussed shall have their names placed on a "sunshine list" by the secretary or clerk of the state or local public body. The secretary or clerk shall then provide reasonable advance notification of such meetings to all persons on the list. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(7). However, notice to persons on the Sunshine List is not a substitute for notice to the general public. Hyde v. Banking Board, supra.

    Although notice under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2)(c) must be "full," it need not designate with specificity the precise agenda for each meeting, particularly if a strict agenda would interfere with public duties. See Benson v. McCormick, supra. However, the posting shall include specific agenda information where possible. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2)(c).In determining whether the notice at issue is “full,” courts apply an objective standard, meaning that a notice should be interpreted in light of the knowledge of an ordinary member of the community to whom it is directed. Town of Marble v. Darien, 181 P.3d 1148, 1152 (Colo. 2008). A notice need not precisely set forth every single item to be considered at a meeting and is sufficient as long as the items actually considered at the meeting are reasonably related to the subject matter indicated by the notice. Id. at 1153.

    Any resolution, rule, or regulation made or any formal or quasi-formal action taken by a public body at a meeting which is not public or for which notice was not given is invalid. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(8). Lanes v. State Auditor's Office, 797 P.2d 764 (Colo. App. 1990); see Hyde v. Banking Board, supra (invalidating order of board issued at meeting where no public notice of meeting was given). However, unintentional failure to provide advance notice of meetings to persons on a "sunshine list" will not nullify actions taken at an otherwise properly published meeting. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(7).

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  • Connecticut

    Notice of each special meeting of every public agency must be given 24 hours in advance by filing a notice thereof in the office of the secretary of the state (for state agencies), in the office of the clerk (for agencies of a political subdivision of the state), or in the office of the clerk of each municipal member (for multitown agencies). Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    (a)  This does not apply to the general assembly, either house thereof, or any committee thereof. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    (b)  The secretary or clerk is required to post the notice. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    (c)  In case of an emergency, these notice provisions need not be complied with, except that a copy of the minutes of the emergency special meeting must adequately describe the emergency and must be filed within 72 hours. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    (d) The notice of a special meeting must specify the time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted. No other business may be considered. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    (e)  In determining the time within which to give notice, Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days on which the office of the agency is closed are excluded. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(g).

    Notice to Agency Members — Written notice of a special meeting must be personally delivered to the members of the agency prior to the meeting, although this notice can be waived by the members by filing a written waiver. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    Notice should be posted in the office of the secretary of state (for state agencies) and in the office of the clerk (for agencies of a political subdivision of the state).

    Only items on the notice can be considered. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(d).

    Only the above information is required.

    The FOIC can impose civil penalties and can declare any action taken at an improperly noticed meeting void.  Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b)(2).

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  • Delaware

    There need only be 24 hours' notice for a "special meeting." Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 01-ib02 (Jan. 30, 2001). The public notice of a special meeting "shall include an explanation as to why [seven days' notice] could not be given." 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(3). For example, the Attorney General has determined that notice of a special meeting posted 24 hours before the meeting failed to explain why normal seven-day notice could not be given. Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 94-I037 (July 26, 1994). FOIA, however, "requires only a reason, not a specific detailed factual basis why the seven day requirement could not be met." Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 96-ib15 (May 10, 1996) (finding that the notice lacked "any explanation" why the seven-day requirement was not met). See Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 01-ib02 (Jan. 30, 2001) (holding the town violated the open meeting requirements of FOIA by not including an explanation of why it could not give seven days' notice); see also Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 05-ib21 (Aug. 1, 2005) (school district violated FOIA by not including reason in notice as to why seven days' notice of meeting could not be given).

    Notice for special meetings should be given as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event no later than 24 hours before such meeting. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(3). No notice is required for emergency meetings that are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health or safety. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(1).

    Notice should be given to the public and should be conspicuous. A conspicuous posting should be made at the principal office of the public body holding the meeting or, if no such office exists, at the place where meetings of the public body are regularly held. Also, a reasonable number of copies of such notice shall be made available. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(4); Ianni v. Dep't of Elections, 1986 WL 9610 (Del. Ch. Aug. 29, 1986) (posting of a single notice insufficient; other copies must be made available).

    An agenda is required; however, it is subject to change to include additional items such as executive session or the deletion of items. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(2). If the agenda is available at the time of the initial posting, it should be added to the notice at least six hours in advance of the meeting, and the reasons for the delay in posting should briefly set forth in the agenda. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(5). A general description in the agenda should be sufficient to draw attention to the significance of the subject to be discussed. Ianni v. Dep't of Elections, 1986 WL 9610 (Del. Ch. Aug. 29, 1986).

    Times, dates and places of such meetings are required in a notice. See 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(2). The public notice of special or rescheduled meetings shall include an explanation as to why the seven days' required notice could not be given. 29 Del. C. § 10004(e)(3).

    The penalty for failure to give adequate notice may be that the actions taken at the meeting are voidable. 29 Del. C. § 10005(a).

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  • District of Columbia

    Special meetings are subject to the same notice requirements as regular meetings.  However, the Act provides distinct notice requirements for emergency meetings and requires that when an emergency meeting is convened, the presiding officer must open the meeting with a statement explaining, among other things, how public notice was provided.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-577(d).

    A public body must give public notice of an emergency meeting at the same time it provides notice to its members.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-576(4).  Thus, emergency meetings are exempt from the minimum notice period applicable to regular and special meetings.

    A public body may give notice of an emergency meeting by posting in the office of the public body, in a location readily accessible to the public, or on the website of the public body or the district government.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-576(4).  The posting requirement for emergency meetings is relaxed in comparison to that for regular and special meetings, for which notice must be posted in multiple venues.

    Each meeting notice must include the date, time, location, and planned agenda to be covered in the meeting.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-576(5).

    If the meeting or any portion of the meeting is to be closed, the notice also must, if feasible, provide a notice of intent to close the meeting and citations to the reason for closure under § 2-575(b).  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-576(5).

    The penalties and remedies for failure to give adequate notice of special or emergency meetings are the same as those for failure to give adequate notice of regular meetings, D.C. Code Ann. §§ 2-579(c)-(f):

    1)      If the court finds that a resolution, rule, act, regulation, or other official action was taken, made, or enacted in violation of the Act, the court may order an appropriate remedy, including requiring additional forms of notice, postponing a meeting, or declaring action taken at a meeting to be void. Actions shall not be declared void unless the court finds that the balance of equities compels the action or the court concludes that the violation was not harmless.

    2)      If the court finds that a public body plans to hold a closed meeting or portion of a meeting in violation of the Act, the court may a) enjoin the public body from closing the meeting or portion of the meeting; b) order that future meetings of the same kind be open to the public; or c) order that the record of a meeting be made public.

    3)      If the court finds that a member of a public body engages in a pattern or practice of willfully participating in one or more closed meetings in violation of the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, the court may impose a civil fine of not more than $ 250 for each violation.

    4)      The Act also authorizes courts to grant "such additional relief as it finds necessary to serve the purposes" of the Act.

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  • Georgia

    For special meetings for which an agency is able to provide at least 24-hours notice, the Act requires that the agency afford such notice orally or in writing to the county legal organ or equivalent or, if the legal organ publishes less often than four times weekly, by posting written notice at the agency’s regular meeting place and by providing telephone, fax or e-mail notice to all local broadcast or print media that have requested it, along with a copy of meeting’s agenda.  O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d)(2).

    When “special circumstances occur and are so declared,” an agency may hold a meeting with less than 24-hours notice upon giving “such notice of the meeting and subjects expected to be considered at the meeting as is reasonable under the circumstances. § 50-14-1(d)(3). That includes notice to the county legal or equivalent and to local broadcast and print media that have requested it. Id.

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  • Hawaii

    Notice must be given to people requesting notification on a regular basis as soon as practicable. Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 92-8(a)(4), (b)(4).Persons previously requesting notification are to be contacted by mail or telephone as soon as practicable. Id. §§ 92-8(a)(4), (b)(4) (emphasis added). The statute, however, does not indicate whether such notice, as practicable, must be given in advance of the meeting.

    An emergency agenda and findings are to be filed with the office of the lieutenant governor or the appropriate county clerk's office, and in the board's office. Id. §§ 92-8(a)(3), (b)(3). The requirements regarding notice of the agenda for an emergency meeting are the same as for a regular meeting, although the agenda may be amended upon two-thirds vote of all board members.

    It is unlikely that notice itself is always required for emergency meetings. Furthermore, although the board must state in writing its findings that an imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare or that an unanticipated event requires an emergency meeting, id. § 92-8, the law does not explicitly state that this information must be contained in the notice. The law only requires advance notice for "regular, special, or rescheduled meeting[s], [and] any executive meeting when anticipated in advance." Id. § 92-7. Emergency meetings may be conducted as executive meetings. Id. § 92-5 (a)(6) (excepting from the statute's public meeting requirements those meetings held "[t]o consider sensitive matters related to public safety or security"). Thus, even if an emergency meeting is conducted as an executive meeting, advance notice will apparently only be required when such an executive meeting was "anticipated in advance." Id. § 92-8 ("imminent peril . . . requires a meeting in less time than is provided for in [S]ection 92-7").

    Actions taken at emergency meetings will not be voidable because of willful violation of the Sunshine Laws. This is because Section 92-11, providing for voidability of actions in violation of the Sunshine Law, only applies to Section 92-3, which exempts executive meetings, and Section 92-7, regarding meetings requiring six-day notice. If Section 92-8's requirements are not met, anyone affected may sue to determine the enforceability of the agency's actions. Id. § 92-12(c). Only upon a showing of likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm to the plaintiff, no irreparable harm to the public, and public interest served may enforcement of agency actions be stayed pending such a judicial appeal. Id. § 92-12(e).

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  • Idaho

    The notice required for a special meeting shall include, at a minimum, the meeting date, time, place and name of the public agency calling for the meeting. Idaho Code § 74-204(2).

    “Special Meetings” require at least a 24-hour meeting and agenda notice. Idaho Code § 74-204(2).  Notice of a special meeting may not be necessary in certain emergency circumstances. Id. An emergency is a situation involving injury or damages to persons or property, or immediate financial loss, of the likelihood of such injury, damage or loss, when the notice requirements of this section would make such notice impracticable, or increase the likelihood or severity of such injury, damage or loss, and the reason for the emergency is stated at the outset of the meeting. Id.

    In addition to providing for general notice to the public, the law provides that the public agencies maintain a list of news media requesting notification of meetings and shall make a good faith effort to provide advance notice of the time and place of each meeting to them. Idaho Code § 74-204(2).

    The notice requirement for meetings and agendas is satisfied by posting any required notices and agendas in a prominent place at the principal office of the public agency, or if no such office exists, at the building where the meeting is to be held. Idaho Code § 74-204(1).

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  • Illinois

    The Act specifies that public notice of any special meeting must be given 48 hours before the meeting. Notice of an emergency meeting shall be given "as soon as practicable, but in any event prior to the holding of such meeting, to any news medium which has filed an annual request for notice." 5 ILCS 120/2.02.

    Where a meeting is an emergency, rescheduled or reconvened meeting, notice must be given to the news media in the same manner as it is given to members of the public body. To affect this, the news medium must give the public body an address or telephone number within the territorial jurisdiction of the public body where the notice may be given. See 5 ILCS 120/2.02(a).

    Notice must be posted for 48 hours at the main office of the public body, and at the location of the meeting. The notice must be posted in the location where it may be viewed by the public for the entire 48 hours. Notices must also be posted on the website of the public body, if it has a website.

    Notice of special, rescheduled or reconvened meetings must include the agenda. See 5 ILCS 120/2.02(a).

    The Act specifies no other information to be placed in a notice other than the agenda of a special, rescheduled or reconvened meeting.

    The notice requirements supplement—but do not replace—any other notice required by law. See 5 ILCS 120/2.04. In addition, “failure of any news medium to receive a notice provided for by this Act shall not invalidate any meeting provided notice was in fact given in accordance with this Act.” Id.

    At least one court has found an alleged notice violation inconsequential, where the ordinance passed at a special meeting for which notice was challenged was a "reenactment" of an ordinance adopted at an earlier regular meeting attended by "hundreds of citizens." Williamson v. Doyle, 112 Ill. App. 3d 293, 298, 445 N.E.2d 385, 388, 67 Ill. Dec. 905, 908 (1st Dist. 1983).

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  • Indiana

    The notice requirements for non-emergency meetings, which require at least 48-hour advance notice, are suspended for emergency meetings. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-5(d). However, news media that has requested notice of meetings must be given the same notice as is given to members of the governing body and the public must be notified by posting a copy of the notice required by the statute. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-5(d)(1), (2). The notice requirements are otherwise the same as for regular meetings. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-5(a). Likewise, the general rules requiring agenda items apply to emergency or special meetings, Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-4(a), as are the penalties are for failing to provide adequate notice of regular meetings, Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-7.

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  • Iowa

    "[A]s much notice as is reasonably possible shall be given." Iowa Code § 21.4(2). There are no requirements separate from those imposed upon "regular" meetings.

    Although the wording in the enforcement section of the statute emphasizes enforcement against illegally closed sessions, it specifically provides that a court may act when it finds "that a governmental body has violated any provision of this chapter." Iowa Code § 21.6(3). However, in order for a court action to be brought, the party seeking judicial enforcement must first show that the governmental body is subject to the open meetings law and that it "has held a closed session." Iowa Code § 21.6(2). In addition, the court has held that "even though notice is an important tool utilized to accomplish openness, it is not the primary purpose of chapter 21." KCOB/KLVN v. Jasper Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, 473 N.W.2d 171, 173 (Iowa 1991).

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  • Kansas

    No specified time limit for giving notice. Notice must be given; not limited to situations where notice is possible. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1981-15.

    Notice is given to any person requesting. K.S.A. 75-4318(b). Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1978-132; Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1977-337.

    Notice furnished to an executive officer of an employee's organization or trade association is deemed notice to the entire membership, K.S.A. 75- 4318(b)(2). (Publication of notice in Kansas Register is adequate notice to those persons subscribing to that publication. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1982-141). (Notice requirements are met by making agenda available at city building during business hours and by mailing copies to those requesting. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1979-218). (Does not have to be mailed if available at public place. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1986-113). An appropriate notice under the circumstances regarding legislative conference committee meeting must be given to any person requesting a notice. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1993-113.

    Act does not require an agenda be prepared, but if one is prepared, it must be available to those requesting. K.S.A. 75-4318(d); Stevens v. City of Hutchinson, 11 Kan. App. 2d 290, 726 P.2d 279 (1986); Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1978-281; 1977-337.

    No other information is required in notice.

    Intentional violation subjects the violator to a possible civil penalty of not more than $500. Any binding action taken at any such meeting held in violation of the provisions of the Act is voidable. K.S.A. 75-4320(a).

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  • Kentucky

    A public agency is required to give public notice of its special meetings as soon as possible, and must post the notice in a conspicuous place in the building where the special meeting will take place and in a conspicuous place in the building which houses the headquarters of the agency. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.823(4)(c).

     

    The public agency must also deliver notice of the meeting to its members as well as to registered news media organization at least 24 hours before the meeting. The notice must contain the date, time, and place of the special meeting and the agenda, and discussions and action at the meeting must be limited to items listed on the agenda in the notice. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.823(3).  A public agency may send notice via e-mail to members and media organizations that have previously filed a written request with the agency indicating that they prefer to receive notifications by e-mail. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.823(4). There is no requirement that the news media organization must be based in Kentucky in order to file a written request for obtaining notice. See 92-OMD-1203.

    If an emergency prevents the public agency from giving 24-hour notice, the public agency must make an effort to contact its members and news media organizations. The public agency must also state on the record why it could not provide the 24-hour notice:

    (5) In the case of an emergency which prevents compliance with subsections (3) and (4) of this section, this subsection shall govern a public agency's conduct of a special meeting. The special meeting shall be called pursuant to subsection (2) of this section. The public agency shall make a reasonable effort, under emergency circumstances, to notify the members of the agency, media organizations which have filed a written request pursuant to subsection (4)(a) of this section, and the public of the emergency meeting. At the beginning of the emergency meeting, the person chairing the meeting shall briefly describe for the record the emergency circumstances preventing compliance with subsections (3) and (4) of this section. These comments shall appear in the minutes. Discussions and action at the emergency meeting shall be limited to the emergency for which the meeting is called.

    Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.823.

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  • Louisiana

    The notice requirements for "special meetings" are identical to the requirements for regular meetings. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(B). In cases of "extraordinary emergency," the standard notice requirements do not apply. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17(A)(5), 42:19(A)(1). Nonetheless, the public body shall give such notice of an emergency meeting as the public body "deems appropriate and circumstances permit." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1).

    Notice for special meetings shall be given no later than twenty-four hours before the meeting. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1); Op. Att'y Gen. 99-404. Notice for emergency meetings shall be given as the public body "deems appropriate and circumstances permit." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1).

    Any member of the news media who requests notice shall be given notice of all meetings in the same manner as is given to members of the public body. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(2).

    Notice of special meetings shall be posted at the principal office of the public body holding the meeting, or if no such office exists, at the building where the meeting is held, or by publication in the official journal of the public body. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(2); Op. Att'y Gen. 99-404.

    The statute does not contain a specific provision for agendas at special meetings. To the extent possible, however, the public body should conform to the agenda requirements for regularly scheduled meetings. Those requirements include: A public body may not take up an item not on the agenda distributed at least twenty-four hours before the meeting except by a two-thirds vote of the members present. Significant proposals must be identified specifically in the agenda. Hayes v. Jackson Parish Sch. Bd., 603 So.2d 274 (La. App. 2d Cir. 1992). Agenda items must be more substantive and detailed than simply "old business," "new business," or "unfinished business." Ops. Att'y Gen. 85-354 and 87-676. The notice need only be "reasonable," however. Shirley v. Beauregard Parish Sch. Bd., 615 So. 2d 17 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1993) (decision to hire individual for assistant principal vacancy not voidable because agenda stated only that it would "hear recommendations" for the position, and not that it would also act on the recommendations); See also Op. Att'y Gen. 93-230 (agenda must be reasonably clear so as to advise the public in general terms of the subjects to be discussed). A public body must vote affirmatively to enlarge the agenda before it votes on the substantive proposal to be added. Hayes v. Jackson Parish Sch. Bd., 603 So.2d 274 (La. App. 2d Cir. 1992); Wagner v. Beauregard Parish Police Jury, 525 So.2d 166 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1988). Frequent use of the agenda amendment procedure should be avoided because such use could become a subterfuge for avoiding advance public notice of the actual agenda. Op. Att'y Gen. 87-649. A public body may not delegate its authority to determine its agenda. Jackson v. Assumption Parish Sch. Bd., 652 So. 2d 549 (La. App. 1st Cir. 1995). (School Board improperly delegated to school superintendent the authority to determine agenda and determine who could appear at public meetings). A public body may require the use of agenda "forms" for public participation in setting agenda. Op. Att'y Gen. 94-152. A public body may not avoid giving notice and preparing an agenda for each meeting by giving one notice at the beginning of the year and declaring itself to be in "continuing session" with a number of "segments" of its one meeting. Op. Att'y Gen. 95-226.

    Notice for special meetings should include date, time, and place of the meeting, as well as the agenda. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1). There also must be attached to the notice of meeting a statement identifying the court, case number, and the parties relative to any pending litigation to be considered; and a statement identifying the parties involved and reasonably identifying the subject matter of any prospective litigation to be considered for which formal written demand has been received. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 42:19(A)(l). The statement must be attached regardless whether such matters will be discussed in an executive session. Id. Notice for emergency meetings shall be given as the public body "deems appropriate and circumstances permit." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:19(A)(1).

    The penalties for failure to give adequate notice are the same as for other provisions of Open Meeting Law. In Wagner v. Beauregard Parish Police Jury, 525 So.2d 166 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1988)  and Hayes v. Jackson Parish Sch. Bd., 603 So.2d 274 (La. App. 2d Cir. 1992), the courts voided actions taken in violation of the notice requirements of the statute (actions taken not specified in agenda). A court also may enter an injunction to prevent a public body from acting in conformity with a policy adopted at a meeting held without notice in violation of the Open Meeting Law. Shirley v. Beauregard Parish Sch. Bd., 615 So. 2d 17 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1993) (school board enjoined from acting in conformity with improperly adopted "personnel selection policy").

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  • Maine

    In the event of an emergency meeting, local representatives of the media must be notified of the meeting.  Whenever practical, the notification to include time and location, by the same or faster means used to notify the members of the agency conducting the public proceeding.  1 M.R.S.A. §406.

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  • Michigan

    In 2012 the legislature amended the notice requirements under the OMA to reflect the prominence of the internet and the use of websites by public bodies to disseminate information. Because of the 2012 amendments, at least 18 hours before rescheduled regular meeting or a special meeting, public notice must be posted on the public body’s website. This requirement only applies, however, if the public body maintains an official internet presence that includes, at a minimum, monthly updates of public meeting agendas or minutes. “The public notice on the website shall be included on either the homepage or on a separate webpage dedicated to public notices for nonregularly scheduled public meetings and accessible via a prominent and conspicuous link on the website’s homepage that clearly describes its purpose for public notification of those nonregularly scheduled public meetings.” Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(4).

    The eighteen-hour notice requirement is not fulfilled if the public is denied access to notice for any part of the eighteen hours. 1979-80 Op. Att'y Gen. 840 (1980). It does not apply to special meetings of subcommittees of a public body or conference committees of the state legislature. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(4). Conference committees operate under shorter time limits. A conference committee must give six-hour notice. A second conference committee must give one-hour notice. Notice of a conference committee meeting must include written notice to each member of the conference committee and to the majority and minority leaders of each house indicating the time and place of the meeting. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(4).

    There are also special notice requirements for meetings which have reconvened. A meeting recessed for more than 36 hours can be reconvened only after a public notice is posted which meets the requirements above. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(5). Beyond all this, the OMA has a broad emergency provision: "Nothing in this section [Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265] bars a public body, however, from meeting in emergency session in the event of a severe and imminent threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public when 2/3 of the members serving on the body decide that delay would be detrimental to efforts to lessen or respond to the threat." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(5).  The 2012 amendments do now require that a public body holding an emergency public meeting, that does not comply with the 18-hour posted notice requirement, “[m]ake paper copies of the public notice for the emergency meeting available to the public at that meeting,” and post the notice online. The notice must explain (with specifics) why the 18-hour posted notice requirement was not followed. Within 48 hours after the emergency meeting, the public body must send notice to the county commissioner explaining that an emergency meeting was held without posting public notice 18-hours prior. “Compliance with the notice requirements for emergency meetings in this subsection does not create, and shall not be construed to create, a legal basis or defense for failure to comply with other provisions of [the OMA] and does not relieve the public body from the duty to comply with any provision of” the OMA.

    Public notices which are posted to meet the above requirements must be made available upon the written request of interested parties as described in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.264(b).

    Posting requirements for special meetings are the same as those for regular meetings. See Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.264(b) and (c).

    The OMA sets forth special notice requirements for meetings which take place in residential dwellings. First, such meetings may only be held if a nonresidential building is not available within the boundary of the local government unit or school system without cost to the public body. Second, notice of such a meeting must be published as a display advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the city in which the meeting is to be held at least two days before the meeting and must state the date, time, and place of the meeting. The notice, which must be at the bottom of the display ad and set off in a conspicuous manner, must include the following language: "This meeting is open to all members of the public under Michigan's open meetings act." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.265(6).

     Generally, the same remedies for failure to give adequate notice of regular meetings applies.

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  • Montana

    There is no specific requirement related to notice of special or emergency meetings, and there is no Montana Supreme Court decision on that issue.

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  • Nebraska

    No specific notice requirements for emergency meetings, except news media must be informed. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1411(5) (Cum. Supp. 2017).

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  • Nevada

    The law does not provide a time limit for giving notice of emergency meetings. Emergency meetings are exempt from the three-working-day notice requirement. N.R.S. 241.020(2).
    Since emergency meetings are not required to provide notice within any given time frame, it is not clear whether any of the other, regular notice provisions apply. Presumably, a public body holding an emergency meeting should attempt to comply with the remaining notice requirements, if possible, in order to comply with the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
    Since emergency meetings are not required to provide notice within any given time frame, it is not clear whether any of the other, regular notice provisions apply. Presumably, a public body holding an emergency meeting should attempt to comply with the remaining notice requirements, if possible, in order to comply with the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
    Since emergency meetings are not required to provide notice within any given time frame, it is not clear whether any of the other, regular notice provisions apply. Presumably, a public body holding an emergency meeting should attempt to comply with the remaining notice requirements, if possible, in order to comply with the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
    Since emergency meetings are not required to provide notice within any given time frame, it is not clear whether any of the other, regular notice provisions apply. Presumably, a public body holding an emergency meeting should attempt to comply with the remaining notice requirements, if possible, in order to comply with the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
    To the extent that notice requirements may apply to emergency meetings, the remedies for failure to give adequate notice would be the same as in regular meetings. N.R.S. 241.037.

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  • New Hampshire

    Emergency meetings require “a notice of the time and place of such meeting as soon as practicable, and shall employ whatever further means are reasonably available to inform the public that a meeting is to be held.”  RSA 91-A:2,II. The Statute does not exempt emergency meetings from the provision giving the court the discretion to invalidate action taken at such meeting.  RSA 91-A:8, II.

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  • New Jersey

    At least 48 hours advance notice must be given for any special meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d. Notice of an emergency meeting must be provided "as soon as possible following the calling of such meeting." N.J.S.A. 10:4-9b(3).

    Notice of a special meeting must be "mailed, telephoned, telegrammed or hand delivered" to two newspapers at least 48 hours prior to the start of the meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d. Note that the newspaper need not publish the notice. However, one of the newspapers to which notice is sent must have a publication schedule which would permit publication prior to the meeting. See Worts v. Mayor and Council of Upper Township, 176 N.J. Super. 78, 442 A.2d 112 (Ch. Div. 1980). Notice of a special meeting must also be filed with the clerk who received the annual schedule, N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d, and mailed at least 48 hours in advance to any person who has filed a request for the annual schedule. N.J.S.A. 10:4-19. Notice of an emergency meeting must be telephoned, telegrammed or delivered to the two newspapers which received the annual schedule. N.J.S.A. 10:4-9b(3).

    Notices of special and emergency meetings must be posted in the same location as the annual schedule. N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d and 10:4-9b(3).

    The notices of both special and emergency meetings must include the agenda "to the extent known." N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d and 10:4-9a. Note that an emergency meeting is limited to "discussion of and acting with respect to such matters of urgency and importance" as gave rise to the need to call the emergency meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-9b(2).

    Notices of special and emergency meetings must also include the time, date and location of the meeting and whether formal action may or may not be taken. N.J.S.A. 10:4-8d and 10:4-9a.

     The penalties and remedies for failure to give adequate notice of a special meeting are the same as those for a regular meeting, i.e., injunctive relief, voiding of action taken, and fines. N.J.S.A. 10:4-15, 16 and 17. Where no valid emergency exists, or where there is not even an attempt to comply with the notice requirements for an emergency meeting, the same penalties may be imposed. See Dunn v. Mayor and Council and Clerk of Laurel Springs, 163 N.J. Super. 32, 394 A.2d 145 (App. Div. 1978).

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  • New Mexico

    Meetings shall be held "only after reasonable notice to the public."  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(D).  The body's internal rules may also provide a limitation.  Id. "Reasonable notice" to the public is required, including to broadcast stations licensed by the FCC and newspapers of general circulation that provide a written request for such notice.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(D).  There is no specific statutory obligation to post, but the Attorney General has advised that posting in places readily accessible to the public is necessary.  There is no obligation to provide an agenda for emergency meetings.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(F).  In the event that notice is not given, it is unclear whether § 10-15-3(A) would apply as emergency meetings are not required to have an agenda, but § 10-15-3(A) may invalidate any action taken by a body where it was determined that the body did not provide "reasonable notice" of any meeting.

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  • North Carolina

    Notice of special meetings must be given at least 48 hours before the time of the meeting. Public notice of an emergency meeting must be given immediately after notice has been given to members of the public body. If a public body has a Web site that one or more of its employees maintains, the public body shall post notice of any special meeting prior to the scheduled time of that meeting. G.S. § 143-318.12(e). Notice of special meetings must be given by posting on the principal bulletin board of the public body or, if there is no such board, at the door of its usual meeting room. Additionally, notice must be mailed or delivered to all media or individuals that have filed a written request to be notified. Notice of a special or emergency meeting must include the purpose of the meeting. The penalties and remedies are the same as for any other violation of the Open Meetings Law.

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  • North Dakota

    In the event of emergency or special meetings, the person calling the meeting must, in addition to the standard notices, also notify the public entity’s official newspaper, if any, and any representatives of the news media who have requested to be notified of special or emergency meetings, of the time, place, date, and topics to be considered, at the same time the governing body’s members are notified. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20(6). If the public entity does not have an official newspaper, then it must notify the official newspaper of the county where its principal office or mailing address is located. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20(6). Topics that may be considered at an emergency or special meeting are limited to those included in the notice. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-20(6).

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  • Ohio

    A public body shall not hold a special meeting unless it gives at least 24 hours' notice in advance to the news media that have requested notification. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F). However, a rule requiring only twenty-four hours' advance notice of special meetings and only to the news media that have requested notification fails, as a matter of law, to establish a "reasonable method of notice" as required by Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F). Such notice is necessary, but not sufficient. Kattenrich v. Federal Hocking Local Sch. Dist., 121 Ohio App.3d 579, 700 N.E.2d 626. (Athens App. 1997).

    For emergency meetings, the member or members of the public body calling the meeting "shall notify the news media that have requested notification immediately." Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F).

    Notice of special and emergency meetings must be given to those news media that have requested notification. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F).

    Every public body must establish by rule "a reasonable method" of providing notice of special and emergency meetings. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F).

    Notice of special meetings must include the "purpose" of the meeting. The public body must comply with requests to give "reasonable advance notification" of all meetings "at which any specific type of public business is to be discussed," provided the requester paid a reasonable fee. The advance notification may be satisfied by mailing copies of the agenda to requesters. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F).

    The notice must include the time, purpose, and place of all special and emergency meetings. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(F).

    Failure to provide notice of special or emergency meetings as provided by law could invalidate official action taken at the meeting or as a result of the meeting. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(H).

    The remedies available to enforce the notice requirements are injunction, and probably an extraordinary writ of mandamus or mandatory injunction. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(I) (injunction); see White v. Clinton Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 76 Ohio St. 3d 416, 667 N.E.2d 1223 (1996) (mandamus).

    The statute also provides for a civil forfeiture of $500 and a discretionary award of court costs and attorneys' fees. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(I)(2). The statute also provides that "[a] resolution, rule, or formal action adopted in an open meeting that results from deliberations in a meeting not open to the public is invalid" unless the closed session was held in accordance with the statute's requirements. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(H).

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  • Oklahoma

    For a special meeting, public notice must be given to the appropriate notifying authorities (Secretary of State, county clerk or municipal clerk) at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. In addition, the notice must be posted at least 24 hours prior to the meeting excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. 25 O.S. § 311.A.9. For an emergency meeting, as much advance notice "as is reasonable and possible under the circumstances" must be given. 25 O.S. § 311.A.13. Weeks v. Northeast Oklahoma Area Vo-Tech School, 1982 OK CIV APP 16, 657 P.2d 1205 (emergency board meeting called to vote on non-renewal of teachers' contract justified when school system faced loss of $70,000 if vote not immediately taken).

    For a special meeting, notice is given to the general public by displaying it prior to the meeting. Also, notice must be mailed or delivered to any person, newspaper, wire service, radio station, and television station at least 48 hours prior to the special meeting if a written request for such notice has been filed with the public body. A charge of up to $18 per year may be assessed against persons or entities who file such requests. 25 O.S. § 311.A.12. For an emergency meeting, as much notice as possible must be given to the public. 25 O.S. § 311.A.13.

    For a special meeting, the notice must be posted in prominent view at the public body's principal office or, if no office exists, at the location of the meeting or by posting on the public body’s internet website. 25 O.S. § 311.A.12. For an emergency meeting, the notice must be given in person or by telephonic or electronic means. 25 O.S. § 311.A.13.

    Only the specific matters listed on the posted agenda may be considered. 25 O.S. §§ 311.A.12, 311.A.13.

    The notice must contain the date, time, place and agenda for the meeting. 25 O.S. §§ 311.A.12, 311.A.13.

    Language used by legislature in the public policy section of the act, together with the inclusion of a penal penalty, makes it a penal statute which must be strictly construed. State v. Patton, supra. All actions taken which are in willful violation of the Open Meetings Act are invalid. 25 O.S. § 313. Hayworth, supra (board hiring of superintendent without meeting agenda requirements invalidated); In re Appeal of the Order Declaring Annexation Dated June 28, 1978, supra (vote on annexation held without public body compliance with act held invalid). Persons who willfully violate the provisions of the act are guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction can be fined $500 or imprisoned in county jail for one year, or both. 25 O.S. § 314. Hillary v. State, 1981 OK CR 78, 630 P.2d 791  (defendant fined after being found guilty of violating the Open Meeting Act on three separate occasions when agendas for public meetings were not posted).

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  • Oregon

    A special meeting may be held on at least 24 hours’ notice. An “actual emergency” special meeting may be held on less than 24 hours’ notice, provided that the minutes for such an emergency meeting must describe the emergency justifying less than 24 hours’ notice. ORS 192.640(3).
    Notice of a special meeting must be given to the parties who would receive notice to a regular meeting. The notice must be reasonably calculated to provide actual notice.
    Penalties are the same as for failure to provide notice to a regular meeting.

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  • Rhode Island

    If an emergency meeting is called, a meeting notice and agenda shall be posted as soon as practicable and filed electronically with the secretary of state.  Upon meeting, the public body shall state for the record and minutes why the matter must be addressed in less than forty-eight (48) hours and only discuss the issue or issues which created the need for an emergency meeting.  Moreover, the OML provides that emergency meetings shall not circumvent “the spirit and requirements of this Chapter.”  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(c).

     

    The OML does not specifically address to whom notice must be given and only addresses the posting of notices.

     

    There are no special requirements regarding emergency meetings. If an emergency meeting is called, a meeting notice and agenda shall be posted as soon as practicable and filed electronically with the secretary of state pursuant to the rules and regulations which shall be promulgated by the secretary of state.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(c).

     

    Not specifically addressed. However, if an emergency meeting is called, a meeting notice and agenda shall be posted as soon as practicable and shall be electronically filed with the secretary of state. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6 (c).

     

    If an emergency meeting is called, a meeting notice and agenda shall be posted as soon as practicable and, upon meeting, the public body shall state for the record why the matter must be addressed in less than forty-eight (48) hours and only discuss the issue or issues which created the need for an emergency meeting. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(c).

    The same penalties and remedies apply as for regular meetings.

    The OML provides for a maximum civil fine of $5,000.00 per meeting for willful violation of any provision in the OML. In addition, the court may issue injunctive relief and declare null and void any actions of a public body found in violation of the OML.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-8.

     

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  • South Carolina

    Notice is to be given as soon as practicable for non-regular meetings, but not less than 24 hours in advance of meetings. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80(A). The act says "This requirement does not apply to an emergency meeting," but it is unclear whether the "requirement" relates to the notice itself or to the contents of notice. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80(A).

    Notice must be given to local news media and to persons, organizations and other news media requesting notification, and it must be posted to give notice to the public. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80. Efforts to comply with such notification must be noted in the public body’s minutes. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80(E).

    Notice is to be posted on a bulletin board at the office of the public body or the place of the meeting. S.C. Code Ann, and the public body’s website if it has one. § 30-4-80(A).

    An agenda must be provided for special meetings. No agenda requirement is imposed on emergency meetings. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-80.

    There is no notice requirement for an emergency meeting, but the failure to provide notice for a special meeting could result in injunctive relief, including a voiding of any action taken at the unannounced meeting. Business License Opposition Committee v. Sumter County, 436 S.E.2d 745 (S.C. 1992).

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  • South Dakota

    Public bodies must comply with notice components of statute “to the extent that circumstances permit.” SDCL §1-25-1.1.   Compliance with notice requirements for regular meetings is required to the  "extent circumstances permit." (SDCL §1-25-1.1).   Notice is posted for the general public and delivered to "local news media" who have requested notice in person, by mail or by phone (SDCL §1-25-1.1).  Notice, including a proposed agenda, must be posted at the public body's principal office (SDCL §1-25.1.1).  Violations are a Class 2 misdemeanor (30 days jail and/or up to $200 fine).

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  • Tennessee

    Any governmental body that holds a special meeting "shall give adequate public notice of such meeting." T.C.A. § 8-44-103(b) (1995). "Adequate public notice means adequate public notice based on the totality of the circumstances as would fairly inform the public. . . ." Memphis Publishing Co. v. City of Memphis, 513 S.W.2d 511, 513 (Tenn. 1974). Notice of a special meeting need not be published in a local newspaper to be adequate. State ex rel. Moser v. Brewer, No. 85-335-II (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 26, 1986) (holding that notices posted on bulletin boards of nursing home, hospital, and county court house and radio broadcast of the meeting were adequate). See Rock Abou-Sakher v. Humphreys County, 955 S.W. 2d 65 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997) (notice of meeting of airport authority for 4:00 p.m. in one member's office was invalid when the meeting was actually held at 4:30 in the courthouse annex). The notice requirements of the Act are in addition to, and not in substitution of, any other notice required by law. T.C.A. § 8-44-103(c).

    The Act does not provide specific time limits for the giving of notice for meetings, but under case law, the notice must be posted at a time sufficiently in advance of the actual meeting in order to give citizens both an opportunity to become aware of and attend the meeting. See Englewood Citizens 1999 Tenn. App. LEXIS 406, * 12 (two days’ notice was not considered sufficient).

    The Act does not specify to whom notice of a special meeting must be made, other than the "public." T.C.A. § 8-44-103(b).

    The Act does not specify where notice of a special meeting must be posted. But see State ex rel. Moser v. Brewer, No. 85-385-II (Tenn. Ct. App. Mar. 26, 1986). According to case law, notice must be posted in a location where a member of the community could become aware of such a notice. Englewood, 1999 Tenn. App. LEXIS 406.

    The Act does not require that notice of a public meeting include an agenda, but the notice must describe the purpose of meeting or the proposed action. Id.

    The Act contains no special penalties for failure to give proper notice; however, the Act generally states that any action taken at a meeting in violation of the Act shall be null and void and of no effect. T.C.A. § 8-44-105 (1995).

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  • Texas

    “The notice of a meeting of a governmental body must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times for at least 72 hours before the scheduled time of the meeting, except as provided by Sections 551.044-551.046.” Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.043(a).

    Notice is given to the general public because the Open Meetings Act was enacted to ensure that the public has the opportunity to be informed concerning the transactions of public business. Matagorda City Hosp. Dist. v. City of Palacios, 47 S.W.3d 96 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2001, no writ).

    Notice is also given to news media that have (1) previously filed a request containing all pertinent information for the special notice, and (2) agreed to reimburse the government body for the cost of providing the special notice. Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.047. Notice shall be given notice either by telephone or telegraph. Id.

    A state governmental body shall provide notice of each meeting to the Secretary of State for posting on the Internet. Id. at § 551.048. Furthermore, the “Secretary of State shall provide during regular office hours a computer terminal at a place convenient to the public in the office of the secretary of state that members of the public may use to view the notice.” § 551.048. A county governmental body is required to post notice of meetings on conveniently placed bulletin boards in the county courthouse. Id. at § 551.049. Notices of a municipality’s meetings are posted on a bulletin board in the city hall. Id. at § 551.050. A school district shall post notice of its meetings “central administrative office of the district.” Id. at § 551.051. News media requesting notice and agreeing to reimburse for the associated costs shall receive it via telephone or telegraph. Id. §§ 551.051-.052.

    The governing board of a single institution of higher education, in addition to providing any other notice required under the Act, must post notice of each meeting at the county courthouse and in a student newspaper (if an issue of the newspaper is published between the time of posting and the time of the meeting), and may post notice at another place convenient to the public. Id. at § 551.055.

    A governmental body of a water district or other district or political subdivision covering all or part of four or more counties must (1) have a notice posted at a place convenient to the public in its administrative office or political subdivision; (2) furnish the notice to the Secretary of State (who must post the notice on the Internet and provide during regular office hours a computer terminal at a place convenient to the public in the office of the secretary of state that members of the public may use to view the notice); and (3) also furnish the notice to the county clerk of the county in which the administrative office of the district or political subdivision is located (who must post the notice on a bulletin board at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse). Id. at § 551.053.

    The governing body of a water district, other district, or other political subdivision [not covered by the preceding Section 551.053] must post the notice at a place convenient to the public in its administrative office, and must also provide the notice to the county clerk or clerks of the county or counties in which the district or political subdivision is located. Id. at § 551.054. The county clerk(s) must post the notice on a bulletin located at a place convenient to the public in the county courthouse. Id.

    The subject of each meeting, the date, the hour, and the place must be included in each notice. Id. at § 551.041. The subject matter to be discussed must be described in highly specific detail. Id. at § 551.045(c); Point Isabel Indep. Sch. Dist., 797 S.W.2d at 180.

    The notice must also state the reason for the emergency, clearly identifying the emergency or urgent public necessity. See Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. JM-1037 (1989); Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.045(c); Point Isabel Indep. Sch. Dist., 797 S.W.2d at 180; Piazza, 909 S.W.2d at 529, 533-34  (“Lack of confidence” in the city’s only police officer did not constitute grounds for an “emergency” meeting under the Act, as the notice failed to describe an unforeseeable situation requiring immediate action.). Likewise, if a supplemental notice is posted at least two hours before the meeting listing additional discussion subjects, the supplemental notice must express the “emergency” or “urgent public necessity” requiring consideration of such additional subjects. Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.045(c).

    Actions taken by governmental body at a meeting convened in violation of the Act are voidable. Piazza, 909 S.W.2d at 534. The statute authorizes holding meetings with only two hours’ notice only in emergencies as the statute defines. Tex. Gov’t Code § 551.045(a)-(b); Harris Cty. Emergency Serv. Dist. # 1, 999 S.W.2d at 167. Action in violation of emergency notice provisions cannot be validated simply by ratifying the minutes of the emergency meeting. Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. JM-985 (1988).

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  • Utah

    If the statutory prerequisites for an emergency meeting are satisfied, the usual notice requirements “may be disregarded if . . . the public body gives the best practicable notice of . . . the time and place of the emergency meeting; and . . . the topics to be considered at the emergency meeting.” Utah Code § 52-4-202(5)(a)(ii).

    Because the public body must provide the best notice practicable, presumably a public body may violate the notice requirement. In such a case, the same penalties and remedies set forth above may be available. Specifically, any final action taken by the public body in violation of the Open Meetings Act may be “voidable by a court of competent jurisdiction.” Utah Code § 52-4-302(1)(a) (emphasis added). The court also may award court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees to a successful plaintiff. Id. § 52-4-303(4).

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  • Vermont

    The time, place, and purpose of a special meeting must be publicly announced “at least 24 hours prior to the meeting” and “some public notice” for an emergency meeting must be given “as soon as possible” prior to the meeting. 1 V.S.A. §§ 312(c)(2)-(3).

    For special meetings, “[m]unicipal public bodies shall post notices of special meetings in or near the municipal clerk’s office and in at least two other designated public places in the municipality, at least 24 hours before the meeting.”  1 V.S.A. §§ 312(c)(2).  The statute also requires that notice “be given, either orally or in writing, to each member of the public body at least 24 hours before the meeting, except that a member may waive notice of a special meeting.”  Id.

    If the media has filed a written request for notification of any special meetings with a public body, then during that calendar year (or the next year if the written request is filed in December) that media entity shall be given notice of any such meeting. 1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(5). The statute is silent as to special notice of “emergency” meetings; it is likely this notice provision would be extended to that situation.

    Additionally, “at least 24 hours prior to a special meeting, a meeting agenda shall be: (A) posted to a website, if one exists, that the public body maintains or designates as the official website of the body; and (B) in the case of a municipal public body, posted in or near the municipal office and in at least two other designated public places in the municipality.”  Id. at 1 V.S.A. § 312(d)(1).  Moreover, “[a] meeting agenda shall be made available to a person prior to the meeting upon specific request.”  Id.

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  • Virginia

    Notice, reasonable under the circumstances, of special or emergency meetings must be given contemporaneously with the notice provided to members of the public body. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.D.

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  • Washington

    Special meetings may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the governing body so long as 24 hours advance written notice is given to each member of the governing body and to each media organization that has on file with the governing body a written request to be notified of special meetings. RCW 42.30.080; Kirk v. Pierce County Fire Protection Dist. No. 21, 95 Wn.2d 769, 630 P.2d 930 (1981). The notice must be posted on the agency’s website. RCW 42.30.080(2).

    Agencies may call “emergency meetings” without notice.

    An “agenda” is required in the announcement of a special emergency meeting. RCW 42.30.080, and an agency’s action must be limited to the listed agenda items. In 1999, the State Auditor held that the Bothell City Council violated the OPMA when it discussed a topic not on the published agenda for a special meeting. Washington State Auditor Schedule of Audit Findings for 1/1/99-12/31/99.

    Penalties. If an agency fails to follow the minimal notice requirements of the OPMA, any person may commence an action for an injunction or mandamus. RCW 42.30.130. If the challenger prevails against the agency, he or she will recover his or her reasonable expenses and attorney fees in bringing the action, RCW 42.30.120(2). To prevail, the party need only establish that a violation occurred, not that the participants knowingly violated the law. See, e.g., Miller, 138 Wn.2d at 331-32 (awarding attorneys’ fees and costs despite findings that participants believed they were acting appropriately under the law). Also, any final actions taken may be declared null and void. RCW 42.30.060 (2000); Responsible Urban Growth Group v. Kent, 123 Wn.2d 376, 868 P.2d 861 (1994); Slaughter v. Snohomish County Fire Dist., 50 Wn. App. 733, 750 P.2d 656. Also, each member of the governing body who attends the meeting with knowledge that the meeting is in violation of the OPMA is personally liable for a civil penalty of $500 (or $1,000 after the first violation). RCW 42.30.120(1), (2). A knowing violation can also result in a recall from office. In re Andersen, 131 Wn.2d 92, 929 P.2d 410 (1997); Matter of Recall of Roberts, 115 Wn.2d 551, 799 P.2d 736 (1990); Pedersen v. Moser, 99 Wn.2d 456, 662 P.2d 866 (1983); Cole v. Webster, 103 Wn.2d 280, 692 P.2d 799 (1984); Bocek v. Bailey, 81 Wn.2d 831, 505 P.2d 814 (1973). The Governor may also remove appointees confirmed by the Senate if the Governor believes such appointee has violated the OPMA. RCW 43.06.080; see also Price v. Seattle, 39 Wash. 376, 81 P. 847 (1905); State v. Johns, 139 Wash. 525, 248 P. 423 (1923) (confirming Governor’s plenary power to remove appointees believed to have committed misconduct or malfeasance).

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  • West Virginia

    In the event of an emergency requiring immediate official action, governing bodies of the executive branch of the state "may file an emergency meeting notice at any time prior to the meeting." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-3. The time limit for giving notice of an emergency meeting is not stated with regard to other public bodies, which must promulgate and abide by their own notice rules. Id.

    The Open Meetings Act does not state to whom notice of an emergency meeting is to be given. The governing bodies of the executive branch of the state presumably would file the notice of an emergency meeting with the Secretary of State.

    The posting of an emergency notice for most public bodies would depend upon their own rules. It is not clear where the notice of an emergency meeting, filed by a governing body of an executive branch of the state, would be posted since there probably would not be time for such notice to be published in the state register.

    In the case of emergency meetings held by executive agencies of state government, the notice must include the purpose of the meeting. There is nothing in the Act specifying the agenda items that must be included in the emergency meeting notices of other public bodies, but the provision that notice of all "special" meetings include the purpose presumably would apply to emergency meetings also.

    For most public bodies, there is no particular information required to be included in the notice of an emergency meeting. The notice of an emergency meeting filed by the governing bodies of the executive branch of the state must include "the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting and the facts and circumstances of the emergency."

    The penalties and remedies described above in reference to general notice requirements of the Open Meetings Act also apply to emergency meetings.

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  • Wyoming

    Eight-hours’ notice must be given to media requesting such notice.

    Emergency meetings may be held without notice. The presiding officer of the governing body is only required to use "reasonable effort" to offer public notice. Also, there are no notice requirements for day-to-day administrative activities of an agency. See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(e) (1977, Rev. 1995); E.G. Rudolph, Wyoming Local Government Law § 3.1 at 101 (1985). If the agency's normal business does not require regular meetings, the agency must provide notice of its next meeting to any person who requests notice. A person may request notice for all future meetings of an agency. In the absence of a statutory requirement, the governing body of an agency shall provide by ordinance, resolution, bylaws or rule for holding regular meetings. See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(a) (1977, Rev. 1995). The Wyoming Supreme Court has interpreted notice requirements for special meetings fairly rigidly. Palmer v. Crook County School Dist. 1, 785 P.2d 1160 (Wyo. 1990) (if the agency has met the requisite record and notice requirements set forth by law and the purpose of the meeting is clear, procedural due process rights will be considered adequate).

    When a special meeting is called, eight-hours’ notice must be given to each member of the governing body and to each newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice. See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(b) (1977, Rev. 1995).

    When a special meeting is called, the notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted. See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(b) (1977, Rev. 1995).

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