Nothing in the FOIA requires a governing body to keep minutes of its proceedings, though several other statutes place that duty upon particular entities. E.g., Ark. Code Ann. §§ 14-14-903(a) (county quorum court), 17-82-205(e) (State Board of Dental Examiners). If minutes or similar records are kept or a tape recording of the meeting is made, these materials are open to the public. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 87-284, 86-316.
The press and public have a right to ascertain how each member of the governing body voted on a particular question, no matter what method of voting is employed. If a ballot is used, each ballot must be signed by the member casting it and made available for public inspection. Depoyster v. Cole, 298 Ark. 203, 766 S.W.2d 606 (1989), overruled on other grounds by Harris v. City of Ft. Smith, 366 Ark. 277, 234 S.W.3d 875 (2006); Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 97-016, 92-124, 88-171. If an initial vote is later expunged and another vote taken, ballots from the first vote must also be made available. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 74-072.
Special Meetings. Neither Act contains any specific provisions for contents of minutes of special meetings.
Emergency Meetings. Minutes of emergency meetings are required by both the Bagley-Keene Act and Brown Act and must include: the list of persons the presiding officer notified or attempted to notify, a copy of any roll call votes and any action taken at the meeting. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.5(d) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54956.5(e) (Brown Act).
Minutes of special and/or emergency meetings are disclosable public records under the California Public Records Act, Government Code Section 6252.
Comment: In Register Div. of Freedom Newspapers Inc. v. County of Orange, 158 Cal. App. 3d 893, 906-907, 205 Cal. Rptr. 92 (1984), the court held that closed session minutes must be disclosed under the Public Records Act if a legislative body calls a closed session in violation of the Brown Act and no other privileges apply to the discussions. But another court has held that the Brown Act does not contain any provision for disclosing the minutes of a closed session meeting where the legislative agency correctly convened a closed session under the Brown Act, but strayed into topics that were not on the agenda or not proper for discussion in closed session. County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Union of American Physicians and Dentists), 130 Cal. App. 4th 1099, 1105-1106, 30 Cal. Rptr. 3d 708 (2005). In that case, the court held that minutes of a closed session meeting remained privileged from discovery, even where the body may have violated the Brown Act. Id. at 1105. This case should be distinguished by pointing out that the plaintiff had never filed a Brown Act lawsuit, and that the issue of whether the Brown Act had been violated had not been fully litigated in the trial court, and the plaintiff was seeking discovery of closed session minutes in a non-Brown Act lawsuit.
But given the holding of Union of American Physicians and Dentists, it is advisable to combine any Brown Act demand letter and lawsuit with a demand under the California Public Records Act for the minutes of the portion of the closed session that violated the Brown Act, and assert that release of the documents is being sought under the Public Records Act and the Brown Act.
Minutes of meetings of any state public body shall be promptly recorded and such records shall be open to public inspection. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2)(d)(I).
Minutes of meetings of any local government public body at which the adoption of any proposed policy, position, rule, regulation, or formal action occurs or could occur shall be promptly recorded and such records shall be open to public inspection. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-6-402(2)(d)(II).
Minutes are public records. See Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 24-6-402(2)(d)(I) and(II).
Minutes should contain the following information: a record of those members present and a record, by individual members (except where the public body is a town assembly where all citizens vote), of each vote taken and the action agreed upon. 29 Del. C. § 10004(f). Minutes of a meeting of a public body should be prepared by the time of the public body's next regularly scheduled meeting. Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 03-ib05 (Feb. 5, 2003). Minutes of executive sessions in emergency meetings should also be kept. Del. Op. Att’y Gen., No. 17-ib27 (July 18, 2017).
The minutes are available for public inspection and copying as a public record. 29 Del. C. § 10004(f). See also 29 Del. C. § 10002(g)(10).
District of Columbia
Special and emergency meetings are subject to the same records-keeping requirements as regular meetings. See D.C. Code Ann. § 2-578.
At a minimum, public bodies must keep detailed minutes of their meetings. However, whenever feasible, they must record their meetings electronically. D.C. Code Ann. § 2-578(a).
Records of a meeting are available to the public unless the records, or a portion of the records, may be withheld under the standard established for closed meetings in § 2-575(b). Records of the minutes of a meeting must be publicly available no later than three business days after the meeting. Full records of a meeting must be publicly available no later than seven business days after the meeting. D.C. Code Ann. § 2-578(b).
The Act makes no distinction between regular, special and emergency meetings with regard to minutes. With respect to any meeting subject to the Act, a summary of the subjects acted on and those members present must be made available for public inspection within two business days of the meeting’s adjournment. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e)(2)(A). Minutes must be promptly recorded and made available no later than immediately following the agency’s next regular meeting, and at a minimum provide the names of the members present for the meeting; a description of each motion or other proposal made; the identity of the persons making and seconding the motion or other proposal; and a record of all votes, including the name of each person voting for or against the proposal. § 50-14-1(e)(2)(B). In addition, for any meeting held on less than 24-hours notice, the minutes must reflect the reason for holding the meeting on less than 24-hours notice and the nature of the notice. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d)(3).
In addition to the normal items required, the board must state in writing the reasons for its finding that an emergency meeting was required. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-8. Minutes from emergency meetings are a public record subject to disclosure within thirty days after the meeting unless otherwise exempt from disclosure under Section 92-5. Id. §§ 92-9(a)-(b).
The minutes required for special meetings are apparently the same as those required for regular meetings. Idaho Code § 74-205(1) makes no distinction between the two types of meetings and the minutes required. See also I.E.1.c., supra. Minutes must be available to the public within a reasonable time after the meeting. Idaho Code § 74-205(1).
The following information must be included in the minutes:
(a) All members of the governing body present;
(b) All motions, resolutions, orders, or ordinances proposed and their disposition;
(c) The results of all votes, and upon the request of a member, the vote of each member, by name.
Idaho Code § 74-205(1).
Minutes are also considered public records. Even the “raw notes” taken by the county clerk during a Board of County Commissioners meeting may be deemed to be a public writing. See Fox v. Estep, 118 Idaho 454, 797 P.2d 854 (1990).
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).
The same material required for minutes of regular meetings is required for minutes of special or emergency meetings: the date, time and place of the meeting; the members of the governing body present or absent; the general substance of all matters proposed, discussed or decided; and a record of all votes taken, by individual members if there is a roll call. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-4(b).
Minutes for emergency or special meeting minutes are of public record, as are regular meeting minutes. The statute specifically provides that the memoranda are to be available within a reasonable period of time and the minutes, if any, are to be open for public inspection and copying. “Reasonable period of time” is not defined by the Act. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-4(c).
Public agencies may assume a duty to amend their minutes when they acknowledge technical errors. See State ex rel. Wineholt v. LaPorte Superior Ct. No. 2, 230 N.E.2d 92, 94–95 (Ind. 1967). Agencies have a right to amend their minutes so long as no intervening vested rights are involved. Id. at 96.
"Each governmental body shall keep minutes of all its meetings showing the date, time and place, the members present, and the action taken at each meeting. The minutes shall show the results of each vote taken and the vote of each member present shall be made public at the open session. The minutes shall be public records open to public inspection." Iowa Code § 21.3. Members of the public are entitled to examine and copy minutes of open meetings. 79 Op. Att'y Gen. 88, 94 (April 20, 1979).
Not specifically addressed with respect to special meetings.
Minutes are public record. Public records discussed in an open meeting, pursuant to KOMA, must be disclosed even though such records might otherwise be permissibly closed under KORA. (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(4)) involving personnel records and performance ratings. Kan. Att’y Gen. Op. 1992-132.
Every action taken must be recorded. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.835. If the special meeting was called without 24-hour notice, the minutes must also contain the chair person's explanation of "the emergency circumstances" that prevented such notice. Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.823(5).
Minutes of special meetings and emergency meetings are public records. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.835
"All public bodies shall keep written minutes of their open meetings." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:20(A).
(1) The date, time and place of the meeting; (2) the members of the public body recorded as either present or absent; (3) the substance of all matters decided, and at the request of any member, of any votes taken, and (4) any other information that the public body requests be included or reflected in the minutes. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:20(A)(1)-(4).
Minutes of open meetings are public records. They "shall be available within a reasonable time after the meeting." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:20(B).
The same requirements applicable at regular meetings apply to emergency meetings. A body must create minutes of each meeting. 1 M.R.S.A. § 403(2). The minutes must include (A) the date, time and place of the public proceeding; (B) the members of the body holding the public proceeding recorded as either present or absent; and (C) all motions and votes taken, by individual member, if there is a roll call. 1 M.R.S.A. § 403(2).
The minutes must include the date, time and place of meeting, members present and absent, and record of action taken. G.L. c. 39, § 23B; c. 66, § 5A. There is no requirement that minutes include summaries of discussions or deliberations.
These minutes are a public record, regardless of form, and they must be made available at the close of the meeting. Minutes of prior open meetings, regardless of form, should be reviewed and accepted promptly, and custodians are “strongly encouraged” to waive all fees associated with producing the minutes. Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009), at 3. The records custodian may not withhold minutes on the grounds that they have not yet been transcribed or approved (although untranscribed or unapproved minutes should be marked “unofficial”). Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009), at 3. The only exception to this rule is that minutes of executive (closed) sessions may remain secret "as long as publication may defeat the lawful purpose of the executive session." G.L. c. 39, § 23B.
A journal or minutes of open and closed meetings must be taken and retained by public governmental bodies. Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.020.7 &.4. At a minimum, the minutes must contain the following information:
a. Date of meeting;
b. Time of meeting;
c. Place of meeting;
d. Members present and absent;
e. A record of any votes taken. If a roll call vote is taken, the minutes must attribute each “yea” and “nay” vote or abstinence if not voting to individual members of the public governmental body;
f. the nature of the good cause justifying the departure from the normal requirements shall be stated in the minutes.
Minutes of public meetings of public governmental bodies are public records subject to disclosure.
In addition to the time, place, members present and absent, the substance of all matters discussed and how each member voted on roll call vote, the nature of emergency and any formal action taken must be listed in minutes and must be available to public no later than end of the next business day following the emergency meeting. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1411(5) (Cum. Supp. 2017).
The information required in the minutes of a special or emergency meeting is the same as that for regular meetings, and the minutes must be "promptly" available to the public. N.J.S.A. 10:4-14. In addition, the minutes of an emergency meeting must state the nature of the urgency and importance and the substantial harm to the public interest likely to result from a delay in holding the meeting. N.J.S.A. 10:4-10b.
Pursuant to the Open Public Records Act, minutes are public records.
The minutes requirement for special or emergency meetings are the same as those for regular meetings. The Open Meetings Law requires that “full and accurate” minutes be kept of all meetings, regardless of whether they are open or closed. When a public body meets in a closed session, it shall keep a general account of the closed session so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired. Such accounts may be a written narrative, or video or audio recordings. G.S. § 143-318.10(e).
Minutes are a public record unless “public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session.” G.S. § 143-318.10(e).
Minutes must be kept of all open meetings and are open records. The minutes must include, at a minimum:
a. The names of the members attending the meeting;
b. The date and time the meeting was called to order and adjourned;
c. A list of topics discussed regarding public business;
d. A description of each motion made at the meeting and whether the motion was seconded;
e. The results of every vote taken at the meeting; and
f. The vote of each member on every recorded roll call vote.
N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.
The disclosure of minutes may not be conditioned on the approval of the minutes by the governing body. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.
Unless there is a specific exception to the open records law, minutes are open records.
The statute contains no requirements for minutes, except that they need only reflect the general subject matter of discussions in executive sessions. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(C).
Minutes must be created for meetings at which a public body discussed public business even though no votes were taken. State ex rel. Cincinnati Post v. City of Cincinnati, 76 Ohio St. 3d 540, 668 N.E.2d 903 (1996); State ex rel. The Fairfield Leader v. Ricketts, 56 Ohio St. 3d 97, 564 N.E.2d 486 (1990).
Limiting the contents of minutes of regular meetings to a recital of formal rollcall votes without at least summarizing matters discussed violates the statute. Minutes must contain "sufficient facts and information to permit the public to understand and appreciate the rationale behind a public body's decision. White v. Clinton Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 76 Ohio St. 3d 416, 667 N.E.2d 1223 (1996) (mandamus).
Minutes are public record. "The minutes of a regular or special meeting of any public body shall be promptly prepared, filed, and maintained and shall be open to public inspection." Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(C); see Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43; State ex rel. The Fairfield Leader v. Ricketts, 56 Ohio St. 3d 97, 564 N.E.2d 486 (1990).
The minutes of a public meeting must contain an official summary of the proceedings which shows the members absent and present, the matters considered and the actions taken. 25 O.S. § 312.A. All votes must also be publicly cast and recorded. 25 O.S. § 305. When the minutes are of an emergency meeting, the minutes must also contain the nature of the emergency and the reasons for declaring such emergency meeting. 25 O.S. § 312.B.
Minutes of a meeting are public record. 25 O.S. § 312.A. Further, any person attending a public meeting may record the meeting by videotape, audiotape, or other means provided such recording does not interfere with the conduct of the meeting. 25 O.S. § 312.C.
Minutes requirements for special and emergency meetings are the same as for regular meetings. ORS 192.650. However, if a special or emergency meeting is held without at least 24 hours’ notice, the minutes of the meeting must describe the emergency justifying less than 24 hours’ notice. ORS 192.640.
Minutes generally are a public record under the Public Records Law, except for minutes of an executive session under certain circumstances. ORS 192.650(1) further provides that minutes and recordings “shall be made available to the public within a reasonable time after the meeting.”
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 and minutes why the matter must be addressed in less than forty-eight hours. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(c). Moreover, the law provides that emergency meetings shall not circumvent the “spirit and requirements of this Chapter.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-6(c).
Minutes of emergency meetings are not distinguished from minutes of regularly scheduled meetings. See discussion above for regularly scheduled meetings.
Minutes must include (a) date, time and place of meeting, (b) members present or absent, (c) substance of all matters proposed, discussed or decided, and, at the request of any member, a record by member of votes taken, and (d) any other information that a member requests be included. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-90.
Minutes are public record, but the minutes of closed sessions do not have to be disclosed. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-50(7). Minutes of meetings for the preceding six months must be made available without a written request when the person seeking access appears in person. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-30(d)(1).
Minutes or tape recordings must be kept if the meeting is open. Tex. Gov’t Code § 551.021. Minutes or tape recordings of each open meeting of the body must state the subject of each deliberation and indicate each vote, order, decision or other action taken. Tex. Gov’t Code§ 551.021(b). A closed meeting’s certified agenda must include (1) a statement of the subject matter of each deliberation, (2) a record of any further action taken, and (3) an announcement by the presiding officer at the beginning and the end of the meeting indicating the date and time. Id. at § 551.103. A tape recording of a closed meeting must include announcements by the presiding officer at the beginning and the end of the meeting indicating the date and time. Id.
Minutes or tape recordings of an open meeting are public records and shall be available for public inspection and copying on request to the government body’s chief administrative officer or the officer’s designee. Id. at § 551.022. The exception is for closed meetings for which a certified agenda or tape recording exists. Id. at § 551.103. The certified agenda or tape of a closed meeting is available for public inspection and copying only under a court order issued under certain circumstances. Id. at § 551.104(c).
Unless an emergency meeting is “closed,” the same minutes must be kept as for an open non-emergency meeting. See Utah Code § 52-4-203. The Open Meetings Act states that these minutes are public records and shall be available within a reasonable time after the meeting. See Utah Code § 52-4-203(4)(b).
OPMA does not have a provision regarding minutes. However, there is a separate state law that requires minutes of regular and special meetings to be promptly recorded and open to public inspection. RCW 42.32.030. There is no definition of what is meant by “promptly.” Moreover, minutes of executive sessions are not required.
Written or taped minutes are public records and, therefore, are available under the Public Records Act. Minutes, or portions thereof, may be exempt from disclosure only if they fall within one of the exemptions to that Act.