Skip to content

c. Are only certain agencies subject to the act?

Posts

  • Alabama

    All multimember agencies of the executive department of the state or its political subdivisions or municipalities are subject the Alabama Open Meetings Act. Ala. Code § 36-25A-2(4).

    The former open meetings law was specifically applied to the following executive agencies:

    (1) County personnel board. 205 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 16 (Oct. 29, 1986).

    (2) Municipal housing authority. Birmingham News Co. v. Ward, CV 90-9338 (Cir. Ct. of Jefferson County, Ala., Feb. 20, 1991) (by stipulation).

    (3) Municipal solid waste authority. 212 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 50 (Sept. 22, 1988).

    (4) State Ethics Commission. Birmingham News Co. v. Cooper, 13 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1655 (Cir. Ct. of Jefferson County, Ala., Equity Div., Oct. 29, 1986).

    (5) Alabama Public Employees Health Insurance Program Board: Swindle v. Remington, No. 1161044, 2019 WL 1090393 (Ala. 2019), reh'g denied, No. 1161044, 2019 WL 2240140 (Ala. 2019).

    view more
  • Alaska

    Certain executive branch meetings are exempt from the act altogether, e.g., meetings of the parole or pardon boards, AS 44.62.310(d)(3), and staff meetings or other gatherings of the employees of a public entity. AS 44.62.310(d)(6). The University of Alaska, which has separate constitutional status, is generally subject to the Open Meetings Act, but its staff meetings or other gatherings, including meetings of an employee group established by policy of the Board of Regents or held while acting in an advisory capacity to the Board of Regents, are excluded from the coverage of the act altogether. Id. Meetings of groups established by the University whose membership is not limited to employees (for example, those with student or community members) are not subject to this exclusion, but are covered by the act.

    Various other state and local agencies may "wear more than one hat," and meetings for some purposes may be exempt from the OMA even though the agency's meetings are generally public. Specifically, meetings of "judicial or quasi-judicial" bodies are exempt from the OMA, but only when they are meeting "solely to make a decision in an adjudicatory proceeding." For example, when the Guide Board meets to discuss proposed regulations about exclusive guide areas to be allocated for brown bear or caribou hunting, its meetings are covered by the act. When the same group meets to decide whether a guide's license should be suspended for violations, it is acting in a "quasi-judicial role." Presumably, this means the part of its meeting at which witnesses testify and other evidence is presented is open; the rest can be closed, and conducted without public notice.

    view more
  • Arizona

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

    view more
  • Arkansas

    The act is not applicable to meetings of agency staff or employees. Nat’l Park Med. Ctr. Inc. v. Ark. Dep’t of Human Servs., 322 Ark. 595, 911 S.W.2d 250 (1995). See also Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2000-111 (meeting between school board member and superintendent of schools), 79-169 (school district administrators), 77-035 (university administrators). Similarly, the FOIA does not reach meetings of various officials who do not constitute a governing body. See, e.g., Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 97-202 (justices of peace, state representatives, county officials), 96-074 (meeting of representatives of three different agencies), 87-288 (meeting of county judge, sheriff, county clerk, circuit clerk, and county assessor), 84-207 (school administrators and state auditors).

    view more
  • California

    The Bagley-Keene Act applies to all state bodies unless specifically excluded. Cal. Gov't Code § 11121.

    view more
  • Colorado

    The Sunshine Law expressly applies to all meetings of two or more members of any state agency or committee thereof at which public business is discussed. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-401(2)(a). See, e.g., Hyde v. Banking Bd., 38 Colo. App. 41, 552 P.2d 32 (1976).

    view more
  • Connecticut

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

    view more
  • Delaware

    A body is covered if they (i) are supported in whole or in part by any public funds; (ii) expend or disburse any public funds, including grants, gifts or other similar disbursals and distributions; or (iii) are impliedly or specifically charged by any other public official, body or agency to advise or to make reports, investigations or recommendations. See 29 Del. C. § 10002(c).

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    The Act does not restrict its application only to "meetings," as defined in the statute of particular agencies.

    view more
  • Georgia

    Executive branch agencies and officials are generally subject to the Act, O.C.G.A. §§ 50-14-1(a); 50-14-6, but certain executive branch bodies are specifically exempted from the Act by the Act itself, see § 50-14-3(a)(3)(exempting the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and all other law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies) or by separate statute, see § 31-2A-16 (exempting the Department of Public Health’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee).

    view more
  • Hawaii

    "Board" is defined to include "any agency." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-2. No "agency" is specifically excluded, but the Sunshine Law does not define "agency," and defines "board" more narrowly than the UIPA defines "agency." The Sunshine Law's definition encompasses standing and select committees and other organizational subdivisions whose role is of "significance in the conduct of the [b]oard's business." Applicability of the Haw. Sunshine Law to the Comms. of the [Univ. of Haw.] Bd. of Regents, Att'y Gen. Op. No. 85-27 (Nov. 27, 1985).

    However, open meetings requirements do not apply to adjudicatory functions of most executive branch boards. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-6 (Supp. 1999). Section 92-6(a)(2) exempts adjudicatory functions including those governed by Sections 91-8 and 91-9 (setting forth Hawaii Administrative Procedure Act (HAPA) provisions on declaratory judgment and contested case jurisdiction of agencies) or authorized by other sections in Hawaii Revised Statutes. The law gives seven examples of boards that are exempted from the Sunshine Law when exercising adjudicatory functions: Hawaii Labor Relations Boards; Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board; Hawaii Paroling Authority; Civil Service Commission; Board of Trustees, Employee's Retirement System of the State of Hawaii; Crime Victim Compensation Commission; and State Ethics Commission. Id. § 92-6.

    The Land Use Commission, by express provision, is not exempt and must hold open adjudicative sessions. Id. § 92-6(b); Chang v. Planning Comm'n of County of Maui, 64 Haw. 431, 442-43, 643 P.2d 55, 64 (1982) (noting that Maui County Planning Commission, not being the Land Use Commission, is exempt from Section 92-6(b) although governed by the Maui County Charter's open meetings provisions).

    view more
  • Idaho

    All “public agencies” as defined in the Open Meeting Law are subject to the law’s requirements. Executive branch agencies are therefore covered by the law to the extent they fall within the definition of “public agency.”

    view more
  • Illinois

    The Act does not specifically exclude any executive agencies. Certain functions of all covered public bodies may be closed, and to the extent that executive agencies perform such functions, such meetings might be closed.

    The Illinois Attorney General has opined that local ethics commissions are not per se exempt from the provisions of the Act. See Op. Att'y. Gen. 007 (1999). However, an ethics commission “acting under the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act” does not fall under the definition of a “public body,” and as a result, does not fall under the purview of the Act. See 5 ILCS 120/1.02.

    view more
  • Indiana

    No. All executive branch agencies are covered. See Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-2(a).

    view more
  • Iowa

    No statutory provision limits coverage to certain agencies.

    view more
  • Kansas

    Kansas law does not exclude any specific agency except courts. K.S.A. 75-4318(a). However, the provisions of the open meetings law shall not apply:

    (1) To any administrative body that is authorized by law to exercise quasi-judicial functions when such body is deliberating matters relating to a decision involving such quasi-judicial functions;

    (2) To the parole board when conducting parole hearings or parole violation hearings held at a correctional institution.

    (3) To any impeachment inquiry or other impeachment matter referred to any committee of the house of representatives prior to the report of such committee to the full house of representatives; and

    (4) If otherwise provided by state or federal law or by rules of the Kansas Senate or House of Representatives.

    (5) If the Kansas Administrative Procedure Act applies to a proceeding, the KOMA is necessarily precluded from application. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 2014-07.

    view more
  • Kentucky

    Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.805(2) sets forth the definitions of “public agencies” which are subject to the Open Meetings Act. Certain agencies are specifically exempted from the requirement to conduct open meetings, such as the Kentucky Parole Board’s deliberations [Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(a)], state and local cabinet meetings and executive cabinet meetings [Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(h)], committees of the General Assembly other than standing committees [Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(i)], and deliberations of judicial and quasi-judicial bodies [Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(j)].

    view more
  • Louisiana

    State executive branch agencies are not covered. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:13(3).

    view more
  • Maine

    All boards or commissions of any state agency or authority are covered by the Act. 1 M.R.S.A. § 402.

    view more
  • Maryland

    With respect to executive agencies, the Act specifically excludes the governor's Cabinet, Executive Council, or a committee of the Executive Council. § 3-101(h)(3). It also excludes the local counterparts to these State bodies. Id. The Act also excludes judicial nominating commissions. Id. Moreover, to the extent that executive agencies exercise only administrative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions, they are excluded from the Act. § 3-103(a).

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Multi-member agencies that serve a public purpose are subject to the Open Meeting Law unless they are excluded. At the state level, the covered agencies specifically include the governing board or body of any authority established by the Legislature to serve a public purpose in the commonwealth or any part of the commonwealth.  At the local level, covered agencies specifically include the governing board of any housing, redevelopment or other similar authority.

    Specifically excluded are committees or recess commissions of the Legislature; all bodies of the judicial branch; the Board of Bank Incorporation; the Policyholders Protective Board; and public bodies “appointed by a constitutional officer solely for the purpose of advising a constitutional officer.”  G.L. c. 30A, § 18 (definition of “public body").  By excluding public bodies appointed by and advising a “constitutional officer,” the Open Meeting Law appears to be legislatively affirming the result reached by the Supreme Judicial Court in 1992, when it ruled that the governor's appointed Executive Council, itself created under the state constitution, cannot constitutionally be subject to the Open Meeting Law. Pineo v. Executive Council, 412 Mass. 31, 586 N.E.2d 988 (1992).

    view more
  • Montana

    No. All agencies are subject to the Act.

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    No, the Statute applies to any public agency or public body. RSA 91-A:1-a,V and VI.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    All other executive agencies which are organized under the laws of New Jersey and "collectively empowered as a voting body to perform a public governmental function affecting the rights, duties, obligations, privileges, benefits or other legal relations of any person, or collectively authorized to spend public funds," are subject to all provisions of OPMA. Specifically excluded from coverage are: (i) the judicial branch of government; (ii) any grand or petit jury; (iii) any parole board or any agency acting in a parole capacity; (iv) the State Commission of Investigation; (v) the Appointment Commission; and (vi) any political party. N.J.S.A. 10:4-8a (emphasis added).

    view more
  • New Mexico

    All agencies are covered.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(B).

    view more
  • North Carolina

    No; any two or more people who, by election or appointment, are exercising a legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative, or advisory function, are covered by the Open Meetings Law.

    view more
  • Ohio

    Executive branch state agencies exempt from sunshine law requirements are:

    • adult parole authority when its hearings are conducted at a correctional institution for the sole purpose of interviewing inmates to determine parole or pardon, Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(D)(3);
    • the organized crime investigations commission, Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(D)(4);
    • the state medical board, board of nursing, board of pharmacy, and chiropractic board, when determining whether to suspend a certificate without a prior hearing, Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(D)(6),(7),(8),(9);
    • the executive committee of the emergency response commission when determining whether to issue an enforcement order or request enforcement litigation, Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(D)(10);
    • the following state agencies when meeting to consider granting financial assistance for businesses and when all members of the board vote unanimously to close the meeting during consideration of financial and business information confidentially received by the board from the applicant for assistance:
    • state controlling board;
    • state development financing advisory council;
    • state industrial technology and enterprise advisory council;
    • state tax credit authority;
    • state minority development financing advisory board.

    Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(E).

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    All "agencies" are covered under the Act. 25 O.S. § 304(1). Agencies are determined in 74 O.S. § 3301 as "any board, commission, department, authority, bureau, office or other entity created with authority to make rules or formulate orders as defined in the Administrative Procedures Act."

    view more
  • Oregon

    All agencies are covered except those exempted under ORS 192.690. These exceptions include, for example, deliberations of the State Board of Parole, the State Banking Board, the Psychiatric Security Review Board, state agencies conducting hearings on contested cases under the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act, review by the Workers’ Compensation Board of contested workers’ compensation cases, meetings of state lawyer assistance committees under the Oregon State Bar Act, peer review committees of health care providers, child fatality review teams, and security programs reviewed by the Energy Facility Siting Council.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    All entities deemed “agencies” are subject to the Act. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 703.

    view more
  • Rhode Island

    No.  The OML covers all public bodies which are departments or agencies of state or municipal government and which “convene” to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has “supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power”.  R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-2(1).

    view more
  • South Carolina

    All public bodies are subject to the act for records and meetings, and where a single executive acts through subordinates who act as a committee or hearing panel, those meetings are subject to the act. Burton v. York County Sheriff, 594 S.E.2d 888 (S.C. 2004).

    view more
  • South Dakota

    The law contains no specific agency exceptions, but does have the general exception "except as otherwise provided by law." The main category of exceptions is the professional review boards and committees. E.g., physicians (SDCL §36-4-26.1); lawyers (SDCL §16-19-99); accountants (SDCL §36-20A-4).

    view more
  • Texas

    Section 551.001(3)(A) provides that an “agency within the executive branch of government that is directed by one or more elected or appointed members” is subject to the Act. See Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. GA-0098 (2003) (The Sulphur River Basin Authority, which satisfied the criteria set forth in Section 551.001(3)(A), is subject to the Act; noting that “Texas courts have long acknowledged that river authorities are subject to the Open Meetings Act.”). Certain functions of the Board of Pardons and Paroles are excluded from the Act (§ 551.080), as are certain meetings of the Texas Department of Insurance (Section 551.079), the Credit Union Commission (Section 551.081), The Finance Commission of Texas (Section 551.0811), certain school board meetings (Sections 551.082, 551.0821, and 551.083), certain meetings of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (Sections 551.0726), and certain meetings of the board of directors of a municipal hospital, a municipal hospital authority, hospital district, or nonprofit health maintenance organization (Section 551.085).

    view more
  • Vermont

    No, all agencies are subject to the Open Meeting Law.  The Vermont Open Meeting Law is applicable to “any board, council, or commission of the State or one or more of its political subdivisions, any board, council, or commission of any agency, authority, or instrumentality of the State or one or more of its political subdivisions, or any committee of any of the foregoing boards, councils, or commissions” with the exception of “councils or similar groups established by the Governor for the sole purpose of advising the Governor with respect to policy.”  1 V.S.A. § 310(4).

    view more
  • West Virginia

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

    view more
  • Wyoming

    The Act applies to any state agency with a multimember board or commission, including committees as specifically mentioned in the definition of an agency in the Act. If the law governing a particular agency vests the full responsibility and authority for the agency's decisions in a single individual, the Act does not apply, since such an individual is not a governing body. Id. However, some agencies headed by a single officer have "subagencies," and these agencies may have a multimember governing body, for example the State Board of Control in the State Engineer's Office. In that case, the subagency would be subject to the Public Meetings Law even though the principal agency would not. Id.

    view more