Skip to content

c. Minutes

Posts

  • Alabama

    The Alabama Open Meetings Act requires governmental bodies to maintain accurate records of their meetings (excluding executive sessions) setting forth the date, time, place, members present or absent, and actions taken at each meeting. Ala. Code § 36-25A-4.

    Under the Alabama Open Meetings Act, the minutes are public records, except as otherwise provided by law and must be made available to the public as soon as practicable after approval. Id.

    view more
  • Alaska

    The OMA does not specifically require that minutes be taken, although it does require that votes must be conducted so the public "may know the vote of each person entitled to vote," except when voice votes are authorized. AS 44.62.310(a). Votes must be taken by roll call at teleconferenced meetings. There is probably an implied statutory obligation, or common law obligation, to keep minutes of public meetings.

    Any minutes that are taken are, of course, public records. AS 40.25.110-.120. Cf. February 16, 1983, Attorney General Opinion No. 366-426-83, at 2. If the body is properly meeting in executive session, there is probably no requirement that it keep minutes of this closed session, or that it release any such minutes if it does keep them. Id. At least one Attorney General opinion advises that where a tape recording (or minutes) of a portion of an executive session that was not properly an executive session exists, it must be released upon request. August 26, 1982, Attorney General Opinion No. 166-622-82, at p. 5. The Alaska Supreme Court has not addressed this. However, there may be local ordinances that do require that minutes be kept. See e.g., AMC 2.30.030.A (requiring that all regular and special meetings and all work sessions of the Anchorage Municipal Assembly be electronically recorded). Likewise, there may be specific legal requirements that tapes or minutes of executive sessions be kept, and made available after a certain time period, or after the matter discussed in executive session has been finally resolved. See, e.g., AMC 2.30.030. K.2, which provides:

    No official action may be taken in executive sessions. Although the public may be excluded, the session shall be electronically recorded. The tapes shall be available for public access according to the following schedule:

    a. If the session concerns pending litigation, the release date shall be when all causes of action have been resolved by final judgment or when further claims arising from the matter are otherwise barred.

    b. If the session concerns labor negotiations, the release date shall be six months following expiration of the labor contract.

    c. If the session concerns matters that if immediately disclosed would tend to affect adversely the finances of the municipality (except labor negotiations) the release date shall be a date certain set by the Assembly at the conclusion of the executive session.

    d. If the session concerns matters that tend to defame or injure the reputation of persons the Assembly may set a release date or may provide that no release shall occur.

    view more
  • Arizona

    “All public bodies shall provide for the taking of written minutes or a recording of all their meetings, including executive sessions.”  A.R.S. § 38-431.01(B).

    Minutes for regular meetings, not including executive sessions, must include at least:

    1. The date, time and place of the meeting.
    2. The members of the public body recorded as either present or absent.
    3. A general description of the matters considered.
    4. An accurate description of all legal actions proposed, discussed or taken, and the names of members who propose each motion.  The minutes shall also include the names of the persons, as given, making statements or presenting material to the public body and a reference to the legal action about which they made statements or presented material.

    A.R.S. § 38-431.01(B).  Minutes must be sufficiently detailed to comply with statute but verbatim transcripts are not necessary.  Ariz. Att’y Gen. Op. No. I83-006.

    “The minutes or a recording of a meeting shall be available for public inspection three working days after the meeting, except as otherwise specifically provided by this article.”  A.R.S. § 38-431.01(D); see A.R.S. § 38-431.01(E) (providing specific time requirements for public bodies of cities and towns with populations of more than 2,500 persons).

    view more
  • Arkansas

    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. 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. 74-72.

    view more
  • California

    Neither Act contains any specific provisions for contents of minutes of open meetings. However, under the Brown Act, the minutes must record all "actions" taken by the legislative body, whether the vote is taken in open or closed session. "No legislative body shall take action by secret ballot, whether preliminary or final." Cal. Gov't Code § 54953(c).

    Minutes of open meetings are public records under the California Public Records Act. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6250 et. seq. 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.

    view more
  • Colorado

    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).

    view more
  • Connecticut

    The minutes of the meeting must be available for public inspection within seven days. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(a). Information on votes must be made available within 48 hours. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(a).

    The minutes must record the votes of each member of the agency on any issue before the agency. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(a).

    Yes, meeting minutes are public record under FOIA. See Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-225(a).

    view more
  • Delaware

    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 are public records and they must be available for public inspection and copying as a public record. 29 Del. C. § 10004(f). See also 29 Del. C. § 10002(g)(10).

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    All meetings, whether open or closed, must be recorded electronically, unless a recording is not feasible, in which case detailed minutes must be kept.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-578.
    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 available for public inspection no later than three business days after the meeting.  Full records of a meeting must be available for public inspection no later than seven business days after the meeting.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-578(b).

    view more
  • Georgia

    A summary of the subjects acted on and those members present at a meeting must be written and made available to the public for inspection within two business days of the meeting’s adjournment. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e)(2)(A).

    Regular minutes of the meeting must be open to public inspection no later than immediately following the agency’s next regular meeting and must include, at a minimum, the names of the members present; 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).

    Even in recording non-roll-call votes, the minutes must reflect the names of each member present and if and how they voted. Cardinale v. City of Atlanta, 290 Ga. 521, 722 S.E.2d 732 (2012).

    view more
  • Hawaii

    The law specifically requires that minutes of meetings must be made available to the public on request, although a reasonable fee may be charged. Haw. Rev. Stat. 92-21 (Supp. 1999) (regarding costs for copies); see also Agenda and Minutes of Haw. State Comm'n on the Status of Women, Att'y Gen. Op. No. 85-2, at 4 (Feb. 4, 1985) (citing Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-9(b)).

    Boards must keep minutes of all meetings open to the public, and these minutes must give a "true reflection of the matters discussed at the meeting and the views of the participants." Id. § 92-9(a). Unless otherwise required by law, however, neither a full transcript nor a recording of the meeting is required, id., but any person in attendance can record the meeting if the "recording does not actively interfere with the conduct of the meeting," id. § 92-9(c). The minutes must cover the following items:

    The date, time, and place of the meeting;

    The presence or absence of members of the board;

    The substance of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided, and a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and

    Any other information that any member of the board requests be included or reflected in the minutes.

    Id. § 92-9(a).

    Generally, minutes are public record. Id. § 92-9(b). Whether disclosure of minutes of government boards is required is analyzed according to both the Sunshine Law and the UIPA. County of Kaua‘i v. OIP, 120 Hawai‘i 34, 43, 200 P.3d 403, 412 (App. 2009). Minutes must be made available within thirty days after the meeting, id., or as soon as approved if such minutes are approved in less than 30 days, Minutes of Employees' Retirement System Meetings, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 92-27 (Dec. 30, 1992). Draft minutes, as government records governed by the UIPA, must also be made available to the public. Id. (discussing overlapping requirements under similarly worded purpose of the Sunshine Law and the UIPA).

    Continued meetings.

    Whether notice is required for reconvened meetings following an adjournment before all business has been conducted continues to generate controversy in Hawaii.

    The Maui Corporation Counsel held that a meeting recessed to a later date can be treated as a continuation of the same meeting as long as the time of resumption is specified. "However, if a meeting is adjourned sine die [without delay], such an adjournment terminates the meeting. Any resumption of said meeting would be, in fact, the beginning of a new meeting for which new notice should be given." [References omitted.] The failure to provide public notice of the new meeting "would clearly subvert the public notice requirement of Subsection 92-7(a) . . . ." Maui Corp. Counsel Op. (Oct. 17, 1980).

    But, when a similar situation occurred in a meeting of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in 1992, the State Attorney General advised the board that notice of the reconvened meeting was not necessary. The media threatened suit and the Regents opted to provide notice. The Sunshine Coalition has subsequently organized efforts to amend the Sunshine Law to clearly require notice of the resumption of recessed meetings.

    view more
  • Idaho

    Under Idaho Code § 74-205(1), a governing body of a public agency is required to provide written minutes to the public within a reasonable time after a meeting, including at least the following information:

    (1) All members of the governing body present;

    (2) All motions, resolutions, orders or ordinances proposed and their disposition;

    (3) The results of all votes, and upon the request of a member, the vote of each member, by name.

    The law does not require that a full transcript, nor a recording of the meeting, be prepared, unless otherwise provided by law. Idaho Code § 74-205(1).  See also State v. Yzaguirre, 144 Idaho 471, 478, 163 P.3d 1183, 1190 (2007). In addition, minutes pertaining to an executive session shall include a reference to the specific statutory subsection authorizing the executive session and shall also provide sufficient detail to identify the purpose and topic of the executive session but shall not contain information sufficient to compromise the purpose of going into executive session. Idaho Code § 74-205(2).

    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).

    view more
  • Illinois

    All public bodies must keep written minutes of all their meetings, whether open or closed. See 5 ILCS 120/2.06(a). The Act specifies that minutes shall include, but need not be limited to: 1) the date, time and place of the meeting; 2) the members of the public body recorded as either present or absent and whether the members were physically present or present by means of video or audio conference; and 3) a summary of discussion on all matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken. See 5 ILCS 120/2.06(a).

    The Act also requires that public bodies keep a verbatim record of all their closed meetings in the form of an audio or video recording. 5 ILCS 120/2.06(a).

    The Act specifies that minutes of meetings open to the public shall be available for public inspection within ten days after the approval of such minutes by the public body; in addition, if the public body has a Web site maintained by its full-time staff, then beginning July 1, 2006 the minutes of the public body's regular meetings must be posted on the Web site within the same ten days after approval, as well. See 5 ILCS 120/2.06(b). Minutes posted on the Web site must remain posted for at least 60 days after their initial posting. Id.

    Although a public body may consent to disclose the verbatim record of its closed meetings or may determine that the verbatim record no longer requires confidential treatment, the verbatim record is not otherwise open for public inspection other than one brought to enforce this Act. 5 ILCS 120/2.06(e).

    view more
  • Iowa

    "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).

    Note: Municipal Hospital Board not required to publish its minutes in local newspaper. Op. Att'y Gen. (March 5, 1993).

    view more
  • Kansas

    The information required is not specifically addressed with respect to regular meetings, but specific information is required in minutes of closed meetings or executive sessions.

    Minutes are public record. KORA. K.S.A. 45-215 et. seq. 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.

    view more
  • Kentucky

    A public agency must record actions taken at its meetings and make those minutes available at the end of its next meeting:

    The minutes of action taken at every meeting of any such public agency, setting forth an accurate record of votes and actions at such meetings, shall be promptly recorded and such records shall be open to public inspection at reasonable times no later than immediately following the next meeting of the body.

    Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.835; see also 12-OMD-67 (public agency may not vote by secret ballot; minutes must show how each member voted).

    view more
  • Louisiana

    "All public bodies shall keep written minutes of all their open meetings." La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:20(A).

    Minutes must include: (a) the date, time and place of the meeting; (b) the members of the public body recorded as either present or absent, (c) the substance of all matters decided, and at the request of any member, a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and (d) any other information that the public body requests be included or reflected in the minutes. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:20(A)(l) through (4). The minutes need not be a verbatim transcript of the meeting. Op. Att'y Gen. 94-376.

    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). See Op. Att'y Gen. 97-397 (minutes of political subdivision of the state must be published in a newspaper; minutes of other public bodies need only be prepared in a presentable manner for review).

    view more
  • Maine

    In general bodies subject to the act must record minutes of each public meeting and make the minutes available to the public on request.  A record of each public proceeding for which notice is required (i.e., meetings of bodies with three or more persons) must be made within a reasonable period of time after the proceeding.  At minimum, the record 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).

    Some bodies are subject to particular record-keeping requirements, such as zoning and planning boards.  In particular, every agency must make a written record of every decision involving approval or denial of any application, license, certificate, or other type of permit, as well as every decision involving the dismissal or refusal to renew the contract of any public official, employee or appointee.  1 M.R.S.A. § 407.

    view more
  • Maryland

    The Act requires a public body to prepare minutes of the meeting as soon as practicable after it meets. § 3-306(b)(1). The minutes must include each item considered, the action taken by the public body on each item, and each recorded vote. § 3-306(c). Minutes are not required if live and archived video or audio streaming of the open session is available or if the public body votes on legislation and the individual votes of each member participating or posted promptly online. § 3-306(b)(2).
    The minutes are considered public records and shall be open to public inspection during ordinary business hours. § 3-306(d). The minutes must be maintained for at least 5 years after the date of the meeting. § 3-306(e)(1). To the extent practicable, the minutes should be posted online. §3-306(e)(2).

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    Minutes must include the date, time and place of the 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.

    Minutes are public records, regardless of form, and they must be made available at the close of the meeting. Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009), at 3. 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”). 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.

    view more
  • Michigan

    Public bodies are required to keep minutes of each meeting showing the date, time, place, members present, members absent, any decisions made if the meeting was open to the public, and the purpose or purposes for which a closed session was held. The minutes must also include all roll call votes taken at the meeting. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.269(1). Corrections must be made to the minutes no later than the next meeting after the meeting to which the minutes refer. Corrected minutes, then, must be available no later than the next subsequent meeting after correction, and must show both the original entries and the correction. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.269(l).

    Minutes are considered public records under the OMA and must be available for public inspection at the address designated on the public notices posted pursuant to Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.264. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.269(2). Although, generally, neither advance notice nor supervision should be required for the inspection of copies of open meeting minutes, a public body may, under rules established and recorded by the body, request advance notice of and require supervision of any copy of the public body’s record copy of open meeting minutes to protect the record from loss, unauthorized alteration, mutilation, or destruction. 2010 Op. Att’y. Gen. 7244 (2010).  Thus, as with other public records under the FOIA, copies of the minutes must be available to the public at the reasonable estimated costs for printing and copying. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.269(2). Since the OMA requires that minutes be available for public inspection at the address designated on the public notice, it is reasonable to conclude that a public body having no permanent location may select a readily accessible location to store its minutes and may state in its notice where that location is. 1977-78 Op. Att'y Gen. 21, 36 (1977). Proposed minutes must be available for public inspection no more than eight business days after the meeting to which the minutes refer, while approved minutes are to be available within five business days after the meeting at which the minutes are approved by the public body. Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.269(3).

    view more
  • Missouri

    A journal or minutes of open or closed meetings must be taken and retained by public governmental bodies. Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.020.7. 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; and
    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.
    Minutes of public meetings of public governmental bodies are public records subject to disclosure.

    view more
  • Montana

    Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-212 requires that minutes be kept and made available for public inspection. Such minutes must include the date, the time, the place of the meeting, a list of the individual members in attendance, the substance of all matters discussed, and a record of any votes taken.

    Anybody subject to Montana’s open-meeting laws must keep minutes of its meetings and make them available for public inspection. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-212. The minutes must include: 1) date, time and place of the meeting; 2) list of the members in attendance; 3) substance of all matters, discussed; and 4) at the request of any member, a record by individual members of any votes taken. Mont. Code Ann. § 2-3-212. Board of Trustees, Huntley Project School District 24 v. Board of County Commissioners, 186 Mont. 148, 606 P.2d 1069 (1980).

    view more
  • Nebraska

    Minutes must show time, place, members present and absent, and the substance of all matters discussed. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1413(1). Minutes must state how each member voted on roll call vote. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1413(2).
    Minutes are public records. "The minutes of all meetings and evidence and documentation received or disclosed in open session shall be public records and open to public inspection during normal business hours." Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1413(4). Minutes are available for public inspection within 10 working days after meeting or prior to next convened meeting, whichever is earlier. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1413(5).

    view more
  • Nevada

    Minutes must include: (1) the date, time and place of the meeting; (2) those members of the public body who were present and those who were absent; (3) the substance of all matters discussed and, at the request of any member, a record of each member's vote on any matter decided by vote; (4) the substance of any remarks made by members of the public who address the body if they request that the minutes reflect their remarks, including any written remarks; and (5) any other information which any member of the public body requests to be included or reflected in the minutes. NRS 241.035(1). Minutes of public meetings are public records and must be available within 30 days and preserved for at least 5 years NRS 241.035(2).

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    Minutes are public record. RSA 91-A:4,I. The Statute does not specify the content of minutes of public meetings.  That said, it is fair to assume minutes will include any motions and votes on same, such as a motion to go into nonpublic session, including the exemption that permits such session.  See RSA 91-A:3,I(b)(“Any motion to enter nonpublic session shall state on its face the specific exemption under paragraph II which is relied upon as foundation for the nonpublic session. The vote on any such motion shall be by roll call, and shall require the affirmative vote of the majority of members present”).  Minutes of nonpublic sessions shall record “all actions {and] shall be promptly made available for public inspection, except as provided in [RSA 91-A:3,III].”

    view more
  • New Jersey

    A public body is required to keep "reasonably comprehensible" (sic) minutes of all meetings showing the time and place, the members present, the subject considered, the actions taken, and the vote of each member. N.J.S.A. 10:4-14. The minutes need not reveal why the action was or was not taken, only what took place and what final action was taken. Liebeskind v. Mayor and Council of Bayonne, 265 N.J. Super. 389, 627 A.2d 677 (App. Div. 1993). The minutes must also contain a statement specifying the time, place and manner in which public notice of the meetings was given. N.J.S.A. 10:4-10a. See AQN Ass'n v. Florence Twp., 248 N.J. Super. 597, 591 A.2d 995 (App. Div. 1991).

    The minutes of all public meetings, including portions of any meeting from which the public was properly excluded, are public records under the Open Public Records Act. See South Jersey Publishing Co. v. New Jersey Expressway Authority, 124 N.J. 461, 591 A.2d 921 (1991). Promptly available has been held to mean two weeks or before the next meeting of the public body, whichever is earlier. See Matawan Reg. Teachers Ass'n v. Matawan-Aberdeen Reg. Bd. of Educ., 212 N.J. Super. 322, 514 A.2d 1361 (Law Div. 1986).

    view more
  • New Mexico

    The minutes shall include the date, time, and place of the meeting, names of members in attendance, the substance of the proposals, and record of how decisions and votes are taken.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(G).  All minutes are open to public inspection.  NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(G).

    view more
  • North Carolina

    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). The North Carolina Court of Appeals has adopted the position of former UNC School of Government Professor David M. Lawrence on the difference between minutes and a general account. “The purpose of minutes is to provide a record of the actions taken by a board and evidence that the actions were taken according to proper procedures. If no action is taken, no minutes (other than a record that the meeting occurred) are necessary. The purpose of a general account, on the other hand, is to provide some sort of record of the discussion that took place in the closed session, whether action was taken or not.” Multimedia Publishing of North Carolina Inc. v. Henderson County, 145 N.C. App. 365, 372-73, 550 S.E.2d 846, 851-52 (2001) (quoting Open Meetings and Local Governments in North Carolina: Some Questions and Answers (5th ed.1998)).

    Minutes of both open and closed sessions are a public record, though minutes of closed sessions may be withheld so long as “public inspection would frustrate the purpose of a closed session.” G.S. § 143-318.10(e). This authorization to keep minutes confidential, however, only applies if the closed session was properly held. In Boney Publishers, Inc. v. Burlington City Council, 151 N.C. App. 651, 659, 566 S.E.2d 701, 706 (2002), the Court of Appeals found, “The plain language of G.S. § 143–138.10 requires that a closed session be conducted in compliance with G.S. § 143–318.11 in order for the minutes of such session to be withheld from public inspection.”

    In Piedmont Publishing Co. v. Surry County, 24 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1371 (N.C. Sup. Ct. 1995), the court held that minutes of meetings are a public record upon creation and that “[a]pproval of the minutes of an official meeting of a public body is not a prerequisite to their classification as a public record.” The court went further and required county commissioners to produce copies of any notes taken at the meeting, as well. The Court of Appeals also has held that only minutes of legal closed sessions may be withheld from the public. “The plain language of G.S. § 143-138.10 requires that a closed session be conducted in compliance with G.S. § 143-318.11 in order for the minutes of such session to be withheld from public inspection.” Boney Publishers Inc. v. Burlington City Council, 151 N.C. App. 651, 659, 566 S.E.2d 701, 706 (2002).

    In considering the sufficiency of closed meeting minutes, the Court of Appeals has found that the court “must review the minutes in camera—meaning in private, not in open court—and ‘tailor the scope of statutory protection in each case’ based on the contents of the minutes and their importance to the public.” Times News Publ’g Co. v. Alamance-Burlington Bd. of Educ., 242N.C.App. 375, 376, 774 S.E.2d 922, 924 (N.C. Ct. App. 2015) (quoting News & Observer Publ’g Co. v. Poole, 330 N.C. 465, 480, 412 S.E.2d 7, 16 (1992)).

    view more
  • North Dakota

    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.

    The governing body of a municipality is expressly required to keep a journal of its proceedings. N.D.C.C. § 40-06-02.

    Unless there is a specific exception to the open records law, minutes are open records.

    view more
  • Ohio

    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 the relevant public body's decision. White v. Clinton Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 76 Ohio St. 3d 416, 667 N.E.2d 1223 (1996) (mandamus); State ex rel. Long v. Council of Cardington, 92 Ohio St. 3d 54, 748 N.E.2d 58 (2001) (city council minutes were not sufficiently detailed and the audio tapes of the proceedings were incomplete and were never intended to serve as the minutes).

    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).

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    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.   The presence or absence of a public official must be recorded in the minutes in a manner that is easily understood and not deceptively vague or misleading.  Andrews v. Indep. Sch. Dis. No. 29, 1987 OK 40; Wilson v. Tecumseh, 2008 OK CIV APP 84.  All votes must also be publicly cast and recorded. 25 O.S. § 305.

    Minutes are public records. 25 O.S. § 312.A.   A court reporter’s transcript of a public meeting does not satisfy the minutes requirement of the Act.  2012 OK AG 24.  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.

    view more
  • Oregon

    Under ORS 192.650(1) sound, video, or digital recording or written minutes are to be compiled for all meetings. A full transcript or tape recording is not required, but the minutes must give a “true reflection” of the items discussed and the views of participants in the discussion. At a minimum, the minutes must contain the following information:

    (a) All members of the governing body present;

    (b) All motions, proposals, resolutions, orders, ordinances and measures proposed and their disposition;

    (c) The results of all votes and, except for public bodies consisting of more than 25 members unless requested by a member of that body, the vote of each member by name;

    (d) The substance of any discussion on any matter; and

    (e) Subject to ORS 192.410 to 192.505 relating to public records, a reference to any document discussed at the meeting.

    ORS 192.650(1).

    Minutes are a public record under the Public Records Law, except for minutes of an executive session.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    Minutes are required and must contain the date, time and place of the meeting; the names of members present; the substance of all official actions and a record by individual member of roll call votes; and the names of all citizens who appeared officially and the subject(s) of their testimony. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 706. Additionally, the Act requires that the votes of each member who actually votes on any “resolution rule, order, regulation, ordinance or the setting of official policy” be publicly cast and that, if a roll call vote is taken, it is recorded. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 705. The requirement of written minutes is not satisfied by an audio tape recording of the meeting. See Tapco, Inc. v. Twp. of Neville, 695 A.2d 460, 463 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1997).

    Minutes are public records. See 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 706.

    view more
  • Rhode Island

    All public bodies must keep written minutes of their meetings which, at a minimum, must include the date, time and place, all present and absent members, a record by individual members of any vote taken, and other information relevant to the business of the public body that any member requests to be included or reflected in the minutes. R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-46-7(a).

     

    All public bodies within the executive branch of state government and all state public and quasi-public boards, agencies and corporations must keep official and/or approved minutes of all meetings and must file copies of all minutes of meetings with the Secretary of State for inspection by the public within thirty-five (35) days of the meeting. Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 42-46-7(d). This requirement does not apply to public bodies that are solely advisory in nature.

    According to the Attorney General, minutes of public meetings should be filed in a place which allows for convenient public access. The most appropriate location for minutes of a Town Council committee is the Town Clerk's Office. See Op. Att’y Gen. No. 91-08-14 (August 14, 1991), 1991 WL 498708.

    view more
  • South Carolina

    Minutes are required of all meetings. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-90.
    Minutes must include at least: (a) the date, time and place of the meeting, (b) the members present or absent, (c) the substance of all matters proposed, discussed or decided and, at the request of any member, a record, by an individual member, of any votes taken, and (d) any other information that any member of the body requests be included in the minutes. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-90.
    Minutes are public record, but disclosure of the minutes of closed sessions is not required. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-50(7). Minutes of meetings for the preceding six months are to be made available without a written request when the person seeking access or copies appears in person. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-30(d)(1).

    view more
  • South Dakota

    State agencies are required to keep “detailed minutes of the proceedings of all regular and special meetings” under the generic open meetings chapter. SDCL §1-25-3. Those minutes are open to public inspection.  Various other governmental bodies covered under specific statutes interspersed throughout the code. E.g., county commissions (SDCL §7-18-3); townships (SDCL §8-6-3); municipalities (SDCL §9-18-1); school boards (SDCL §13-8-34).

    SDCL §1-27-1.17 provides that “unapproved, draft minutes of any public meeting…that are required to be kept by law shall be available for inspection by any person within ten business days after the meeting.  The requirement is waived if an audio or video recording of the meeting is available on the governing body’s website within five days.

    view more
  • Tennessee

    The Act mandates that minutes of a governmental body's meetings be promptly and fully recorded. Furthermore, all votes must be by public vote or public ballot or public roll call with no secret votes, ballots, or roll calls allowed. T.C.A. § 8-44-104 (1995). Failure to include an account of the vote in the minutes from a meeting in accordance with the Act might not necessarily render action taken at the meeting void but might result in the imposition of other sanctions in accordance with §  8-44-106(c) and (d). Zseltvay v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, 986 S.W. 2d 581 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1998). But see Allen v. City of Memphis, 2004 Tenn. App. LEXIS 403 (Jan. 22, 2004) (holding that failure to record minutes could void action taken at meeting). "Strict compliance with [the Act] is necessary with respect to the matters required to be recorded and included in the minutes . . . . The Act does not distinguish between technical and substantive violations." Grace Fellowship Church v. Lenoir City, 2002 Tenn. App. LEXIS 49 (Tenn. Ct. App. Jun 23, 2002) (quoting Zseltray).

    Minutes shall include a record of persons present, motions, proposals, and resolutions made, results of votes taken and individual votes cast. The Act requires that meetings be "fully recorded" but does not require that the minutes be "complete and exact" Hutsell v. Jefferson County, 2005 Tenn. App. LEXIS 243 (Tenn. Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2005) (noting that the Act does not require recording by audio or video means). A failure to record minutes of a meeting constitutes a violation of the Act. Allen v. City of Memphis, 397 S.W. 3d 572 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012). The minutes are public records.

    view more
  • Texas

    The governmental body must “prepare and keep minutes or make a tape recording of each open meeting of the body.” Id. at § 551.021(a). The minutes must state the subject matter of each deliberation and must indicate each vote, order, decision, or other action taken by the governmental body. Id. at § 551.021(b).

    The minutes and tape recordings of an open meeting are public records and must be made available for public inspection and copying on request to the chief administrative officer of the governmental body or the officer’s designee. Id. at § 551.022.  The minutes of a public meeting of a governmental body are public records when entered, are public in whatever form they exist, and public access may not be delayed until formal approval is obtained.  Tex. Atty. Gen. Op. ORD.-06192 (2011) (finding draft minutes must be made available even if they had not been approved by the board).

    view more
  • Utah

    The Open Meetings Act requires that written minutes be kept of all open meetings and that such minutes include:

    (a) the date, time, and place of the meeting;

    (b) the names of members present and absent;

    (c) the substance of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided by the public body which may include a summary of comments made by members of the public body;

    (d) a record, by individual member, of each vote taken by the public body;

    (e) the name of each person who:

    (i) is not a member of the public body; and

    (ii) after being recognized by the presiding member of the public body, provided testimony or comments to the public body;

    (f) the substance, in brief, of the testimony or comments provided by the public under Subsection (2)(e); and

    (g) any other information that is a record of the proceedings of the meeting that any member requests be entered in the minutes or recording.

    Utah Code § 52-4-203(2).

    The Open Meetings Act states that these minutes are public records and shall be available within a reasonable time after the meeting. Utah Code § 52-4-203(4)(b), (g). “A recording of an open meeting shall be available to the public for listening within three business days after the end of the meeting.” Id. § 52-4-203(4)(e).

    view more
  • Vermont

    Minutes must be prepared that cover “all topics and motions that arise,” and they must “give a true indication of the business of the meeting.” 1 V.S.A. § 312(b)(1). The minutes must minimally include the members present and all “active participants,” all proposals or motions made or considered and their disposition, and the results of any vote(s) or roll call(s) taken. Id. The minutes are public records and must be made available upon request from the body’s clerk or secretary five days after the meeting. § 312(b)(2).

    view more
  • Virginia

    Minutes shall be recorded at all open meetings except those of (i) the committees of the General Assembly, (ii) legislative, interim study commissions and committees, (iii) study committees or commissions appointed by the Governor, and (iv) study commissions, committees, or subcommittees appointed by the governing bodies or school boards of counties, cities and towns, except where the membership of any such bodies includes a majority of the governing body of a county, city or town or school board. Minutes, including draft minutes, and all other records of open meetings, including audio or audio-visual records are public records and subject to the provisions of the Act. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.H.

    All boards, commissions, councils, and other public bodies created in the executive branch of state government and subject to the provisions of the Act shall post minutes of their meetings on such body’s official public website and on an electronic calendar maintained by the commonwealth. Draft minutes of meetings shall be posted as soon as possible but no later than ten working days after the conclusion of the meeting. Final approved meeting minutes shall be posted within three working days of final approval of the minutes. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.1.

    Minutes shall be in writing and shall include (a) the date, time, and location of the meeting; (b) the members of the public body recorded as present and absent; and (c) a summary of the discussion on matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken. In addition, for electronic communication meetings conducted in accordance with § 2.2–3708.2, minutes of state public bodies shall include (1) the identity of the members of the public body at each remote location identified in the notice who participated in the meeting through electronic communication means, (2) the identity of the members of the public body who were physically assembled at the primary or central meeting location, and (3) the identity of the members of the public body who were not present at the locations identified in clauses (1) and (2) but who monitored such meeting through electronic communication means.Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3707.H.

    If the public body chooses to go into a closed session, the minutes of the open meeting shall include a statement which makes specific reference to the relevant exemption and identifies the matters to be discussed. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3712.A. The minutes must also include a certification that the closed potion of the meeting was limited to matters lawfully exempted from the open meeting requirement.  Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3712.D.  If the public body meets through electronic communication means, the reason for the meeting must be outlined in the minutes. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3708.2.

    view more
  • Washington

    OPMA does not have a provision regarding minutes. However, there is a separate state law which requires that minutes of regular and special meetings must 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.

    view more
  • West Virginia

    Every public agency is required to maintain minutes of its meetings, which must include at least: (a) the date, time and place of the meeting; (b) the name of each member of the governing body present and absent; (c) all motions, proposals, resolutions, orders, ordinances and measures proposed, the name of the person proposing the same and their disposition; and (d) the results of all votes and, upon the request of a member, the vote of each member, by name. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-5.

    The minutes of open meetings are public records and must be made available to the public within a reasonable time after the meeting is held. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-5. Any tape recording made of the meeting also is a public record. Veltri v. Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, 178 W. Va. 669, 363 S.E.2d 746 (1987).

    Public bodies must record in their minutes any court order which compels compliance or enjoins non-compliance with the Open Meetings Act, or which annuls a decision made in violation of the Act. W. Va. Code § 6-9A-6.

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    "The motions and roll call votes of each meeting of a governmental body shall be recorded, preserved and open to public inspection to the extent prescribed in [the Open Records Law]." Wis. Stat. § 19.88(3). Secret ballots may not be used except for the election of officers of the body. Wis. Stat. § 19.88(1).

    view more
  • Wyoming

    The Legislature in 1995 added Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-403(c) to outline the requirements for taking minutes at meetings. The 2005 amendments require minutes of executive sessions, but they are confidential unless a court orders them disclosed to the public.

    Minutes from meetings where no action is taken by the governing body are required to be recorded but not published. Minutes are not required to be recorded or published for day-to-day administrative activities of an agency. Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-403(c)(i) & (ii). (1977, Rev. 1995).

    Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-404(c) is silent as to whether minutes constitute a "public record." Generally, unless otherwise specified as privileged or confidential by law under Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-201(a)(v), minutes of a meeting would be considered public record. Refer to the Preface of this overview. See, e.g., Wyo. Stat. § 9-2-401(a)(v) (1977, Rev. 1991). However, the 1995 amendment requiring minutes of executive sessions and making them confidential indicates that minutes of non-executive sessions are public records.

    view more