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C. Business and industry relations

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  • Alabama

    A meeting of a governmental body that deals with business and industry relations is presumptively open under the Alabama Open Meetings Act unless it falls within the statutory exceptions of the Act. A governmental body may convene an executive session to discuss preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governmental body is in competition with private individuals or entities or other governmental bodies in Alabama or in other states or foreign nations. Ala. Code § 36-25A-7(a)(7).

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  • Alaska

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • Arizona

    Business and industry relations are subject to OML if discussed by public body.

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  • Arkansas

    Meetings to discuss attracting new business to the community are not exempt from the FOIA. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2000-260 (meetings of nonprofit economic development corporation that receives county sales tax revenue to support its activities). Similarly, the governing boards of various state entities established to foster industrial development would be required to meet in public on such matters. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 77-145 (FOIA does not exempt meetings of Arkansas Economic Development Commission to “discuss specific confidential prospects”). By statute, however, meetings of “the review committee of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission established for the purpose of giving preliminary review” to applications under the Industrial Revenue Bond Law “shall not be open to the public.” Ark. Code Ann. § 15-4-606(b)(2)(B). This statute also extends confidentiality to meetings of the commission’s staff; as noted previously, however, staff meetings are not subject to the FOIA.

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  • California

    Open — no specific exemption from open meeting requirements.

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  • Connecticut

    There are no specific provisions or exemptions in FOIA on this issue. There are also no reported court decisions on this issue.

    An executive session may be allowed if an open session would result in the disclosure of exempt records. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-200(6)(E). See Records Outline at II.A.2 and IV.

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  • Delaware

    Meetings regarding or discussing business and industry relations are open.

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  • District of Columbia

    A meeting, or portion of a meeting, may be closed to discuss, establish, or instruct the public body's staff or negotiating agents concerning the position to be taken in negotiating incentives relating to the location or expansion of industries or other business or business activities in the District of Columbia.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-575(b)(3).

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  • Florida

    Because there is no statutory exemption from section 286.011 for governmental meetings relating to business and industry relations, such meetings must be held in accordance with the Sunshine Act.

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not exempt meetings regarding business or industry relations.

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  • Hawaii

    Adjudicatory proceedings involving the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, the Labor and Industrial Relations Appeal Board, or the Board of Trustees for the State of Hawaii Employees' Retirement System are all closed. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-6. Deliberations about "the authority of persons designated . . . to conduct labor negotiations" fall within purposes for which closed meetings are allowed. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-5(a)(3).

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  • Idaho

    Meetings involving “preliminary negotiations involving matters of trade or commerce in which the governing body is in competition with governing bodies in other states and nations” are properly subject to executive session discussions. Idaho Code § 74-206(1)(e).

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  • Illinois

    Would be generally covered and open unless exempt topic is discussed, such as real estate purchased or leased.

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  • Indiana

    Unless the meeting involves interviews with industrial or commercial prospects or their agents by the department of commerce, the Indiana development finance authority, the film commission, the Indiana business modernization and technology corporation, or economic development commissions, business and industry sessions must be open to the public. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(4).

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  • Iowa

    No Iowa statutes governing open meetings between governmental bodies and private business have been found. However, to the extent such meetings would involve sensitive business information, the meetings would probably be closed to the public under Iowa Code § 21.5(1)(a). Cf. Iowa Code § 22.7(8) (records and information about industrial prospects with whom state is in negotiations confidential).

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  • Kansas

    Not addressed by Kansas law.

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  • Kentucky

    Discussions with businesses regarding a specific proposal for the siting, retention, expansion or upgrading of the business may be closed if publicity would jeopardize the proposal. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(g).

    Likewise, collective bargaining negotiations may be closed. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)(e).

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  • Maine

    Proceedings involving business and industry relations are generally public.  However, if discussion involves the condition, acquisition or the use of real property or fixtures, disposition of public property, or economic development, deliberations may be in executive session “only if premature disclosures of the information would prejudice the competitive or bargaining position of the body or agency.”  1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)(D).  Deliberations involving records protected as trade secrets or otherwise confidential under the Act may also be closed to the public.  1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)(F). Similarly, discussions concerning an application for a tax increment finance district between a governmental entity and the applicant/developer may be closed to discuss financial information declared confidential by statute. 10 M.R.S.A. § 382, 36 M.R.S.A. § 6760.

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  • Maryland

    Meetings that relate to the acquisition of real property; matters concerning a proposal for the location, expansion or retention of a business or industrial organization within the State; the investment of public funds; and the marketing of public securities may be closed. § 3-305(b)(3)-(6). The Act also allows a body to close a meeting to "discuss, before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process." § 3-305(b)(14).

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  • Massachusetts

    Open unless land acquisition involved.

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  • Michigan

    Presumably open.

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  • Minnesota

    Presumably open, provided they involve a state agency, board, commission or department required or permitted by law to transact public business in a meeting; the governing body of a school district, unorganized territory, county, statutory or home rule city, town, or other public body; the committees, subcommittees, boards, departments, or commissions of any public body; or the governing body or commission of a statewide public pension plan or local public pension plan. Minn. Stat. § 13D.01, subd. 1.

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  • Mississippi

    Sometimes exempt. Meetings involving the "[transaction of business and discussions or negotiations regarding the location, relocation or expansion of a business or an industry" may be closed. See § 25-41-7(4)(j).

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  • Montana

    Not a basis for closing a meeting.

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  • Nebraska

    No specific exemption, but see Grein v. Board of Education, 216 Neb. 158, 164, 343 N.W.2d 718, 723 (1984). Where public finances are involved, the "public interest" ordinarily demands an open meeting. Id.

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  • New Hampshire

    Subject to the Statute.

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  • New Jersey

    A meeting of an effective majority of a public body to discuss business and industry relations, including plans for attracting business, is required to be open to the public unless the discussions involve (i) purchase or lease or acquisition of real property with public funds, or (ii) contract negotiations, or (iii) where the release of information would impair the right to receive federal funds. See N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b(2),(5) and (7).

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  • New Mexico

    Except for the specific statutory exemptions, such meetings are treated as other public meetings under the Open Meetings Act.

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  • New York

    LaCorte Electrical Construction and Maintenance v. Cty. of Rensselaer, 177 A.D.2d 786, 576 N.Y.S.2d 397 (3d Dep’t 1991), rev’d on other grounds, 80 N.Y.2d 232, 604 N.E.2d 88, 590 N.Y.S.2d 26 (1992) (discussion of bidder’s financial, credit, and employment history in closed session was proper); Callanan Indus. v. City of Schenectady, 116 A.D.2d 883, 498 N.Y.S.2d 490 (3d Dep’t 1986) (in the absence of a showing of good cause, city council’s lack of compliance with OML did not provide basis for annulling construction contract award). Syracuse United Neighbors v. City of Syracuse, 80 A.D.2d 984, 437 N.Y.S.2d 466 (4th Dep’t 1981), appeal dismissed, 55 N.Y.2d 995, 434 N.E.2d 270, 449 N.Y.S.2d 201 (1982) (advisory committees concerned with urban blight and loss of tax revenue are “public bodies” subject to OML).

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  • North Carolina

    A public body may meet in closed session to “discuss” the location or expansion of industries or businesses within the area served by the public body. G.S. § 143-318.11(a)(4). However, final decisions or actions cannot be taken in closed session.

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  • North Dakota

    The portion of a meeting held to discuss or consider information pertaining to a prospective location of a business or industry, including the identity, nature, and location of the business or industry, when no previous public disclosure has been made by the business or industry of the interest or intent of the business or industry to locate in, relocate within, or expand within this state, or partner with a public entity to conduct research or to license a discovery or innovation. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.4. This exemption does not include records pertaining to the application for permits or licenses necessary to do business or to expand business operations within this state, except as otherwise provided by law. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.4.

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  • Ohio

    Open sessions, except that the industrial technology and enterprise advisory board, the tax credit authority, the minority development financing commission, the development financing advisory board, and the controlling board may close discussions of financial and business data, and marketing plans, with a unanimous vote of all members. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(B)(2),(E).

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  • Oklahoma

    The Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority, Oklahoma Development Finance Authority, and the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology, all designed in part to promote economic development, may meet in executive session after discussing matters which might be deemed trade secrets or proprietary information. 25 O.S. § 307.C.2-4. The exclusion of competitors for a state contract from a meeting of the State Board of Corrections violates the Open Meeting Act 1979 OK AG 70.

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  • Oregon

    Generally these matters are heard in public session. Discussions falling under ORS 192.660(1)(e) (negotiations involving real property transactions), ORS 192.660(1)(g) (preliminary negotiations involving trade or commerce in which governing body is in competition with other governing bodies) and ORS 192.660(1)(j) (negotiations with private persons or businesses for public investments) are subjects for executive session deliberations.
    The deliberations of the State Banking Board are not subject to the Public Meetings Law. ORS 192.690(1).

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  • Pennsylvania

    Open if agency business or official action is involved unless one of the Act’s exceptions applies.

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  • Rhode Island

    No specific exemption. May be covered by exemptions (6) and (7) on prospective business location and investing funds.

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  • South Carolina

    A public body may discuss in executive session matters relating to the proposed location or services to be provided for businesses in the area served by the public body. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-70(a)(5).

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  • South Dakota

    These meetings are presumably open, unless discussions of competitive marketing or pricing strategies are involved. (SDCL §1-25-2(5))

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  • Tennessee

    Closed executive sessions if discussion or consideration of commercial or financial information or trade secrets. T.C.A. § 4-17-109(b). But meetings of county economic development board during which it carries out its function as a joint economic and community development board under T.C.A. § 6-58-114 are subject to the Act. Op. Att'y. Gen. No. 03-091 (July 24, 2003).

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  • Texas

    Meetings affecting business and industry relations are only excepted, in certain situations, in the area of the purchase, exchange, lease, or value of real property and "negotiated contract[s] for a prospective gift or donation to the state or the governmental body if deliberation in an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the position of the governmental body in negotiations with a third person." Id. § 551.073.

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  • Utah

    This topic (including discussions for attracting business to the state) is open to the public, but discussions may be closed to the extent they touch upon matters designated as exempt in the Open Meetings Act.

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  • Virginia

    Prospective business or industry or expansion of existing business or industry is addressed in  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3711.A.5.

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  • Washington

    The only limitation is where the governing body is considering financial and commercial information pertaining to export trading companies.

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  • West Virginia

    The Open Meetings Act permits executive sessions to be held to discuss "[m]atters involving or affecting the purchase, sale or lease of property, advance construction planning, the investment of public funds or other matters involving competition which, if made public, might adversely affect the financial or other interest of the state or any political subdivision." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(9). This broad exception probably would extend to many discussions for attracting business to the state, especially considering the confidentiality accorded economic development under W. Va. Code § 5B-2-1, as amended in 1997. There is a proviso added in the 1999 amendments that requires later disclosure of the content of closed meetings in certain circumstances:

    (11) [I]nformation relied on during the course of deliberations on matters involving commercial competition are exempt from disclosure under the open meetings requirements of this article only until the commercial competition has been finalized and completed: Provided, However, that information not subject to release pursuant to the West Virginia freedom of information act does not become subject to disclosure as a result of executive session.

    (W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(11)).

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  • Wisconsin

    Meeting for the purpose of deliberating or negotiating the purchasing of public properties, the investing in public funds, or conducting other specified business may be closed whenever competitive or bargaining reasons require. Wis. Stat. § 19.85(1)(e); State ex rel. Citizens for Responsible Dev. v. City of Milton, 2007 WI App 114, 300 Wis. 2d 649, 731 N.W.2d 640 (the exception must be narrowly construed, authorizing closing only that part of a meeting in which negotiating strategy is discussed).

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  • Wyoming

    There is no provision that deals directly with this. Refer to specific statutes relating to the governing body or the governing body's ordinances or resolutions.

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