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I. Licensing examinations

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  • Alaska

    See generally, AS 08.01.010 et seq. and regulations adopted pursuant to this title with respect to occupational licensing. AS 08.01.090 provides that the Administrative Procedures Act, including the OMA, applies to proceedings held under the chapter governing licensing, except certain investigations and examinations of a business' books and records.

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  • Arizona

    No directly applicable law, but OML should apply to all multi-member licensing boards because the examination is a deliberation with respect to a legal action.  See A.R.S. § 38-431(3), (6).

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  • Arkansas

    Act 1259 of 2001 amended the FOIA by adding an exemption that allows state boards and commissions to “meet in executive session for purposes of preparing examination materials and answers to examination materials which are administered to applicants for licensure . . . .” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-106(c)(5)(A). Also, boards and commissions “are excluded from [the FOIA] for the administering of examinations to applicants for licensure.” Id. § 25-19-106(c)(5)(B). Similar provisions had previously been enacted with respect to particular licensing agencies. E.g., Ark. Code Ann. § 17-100-203(a)(3) (allowing executive sessions of Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology to “prepare, approve, grade, or administer examinations”).

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  • California

    Under the Bagley-Keene Act, a state body that administers business or professional licenses to people may hold a closed session to prepare, approve, grade or administer exams. Cal. Gov't Code § 11126(c)(1). Under the Brown Act, a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed session to discuss and determine whether an applicant for a license or license renewal, who has a criminal record, is sufficiently rehabilitated to obtain a license. Cal. Gov't Code § 54956.7.

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  • Colorado

    Open. Local licensing authorities, e.g., liquor or special permit licensing boards, are political subdivisions of the state and thus within the definition of "local public body" of a "political subdivision of the state" subject to the Open Meetings Law. The 1991 amendments change the prior law in this regard. See Lasteika Corp. v. Buckingham, 759 P.2d 925 (Colo. App. 1987).

    Liquor Licenses. In addition, public hearings on applications for beer and liquor licenses are required to be held by the local licensing authority, after public notice of the hearing and application has been posted. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-47-136(1) (liquor licenses); Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-46-117(3) (beer licenses).

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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

    Licensing examinations may be closed under the open meeting exemption allowing for employees to close such meetings. See 29 Del. C. § 10004(b)(9). However, hearings on licenses may be open under the APA. See 29 Del. C. § 10131.

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  • District of Columbia

    A meeting, or portion of a meeting, may be closed for the preparation, administration, or grading of scholastic, licensing, or qualifying examinations.  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-575(b)(6).

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not exempt licensing examinations. A number of the state’s professional licensing bodies are permitted by their enabling statutes to conduct deliberations in closed session.  See, e.g., O.C.G.A. § 43-11-12 (permitting non-disclosure of deliberations of the state dentistry board with respect to an application, an examination, a complaint, an investigation, or a disciplinary proceeding, except as may be contained in the official board minutes).

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  • Hawaii

    Meetings "[t]o consider and evaluate personal information relating to individuals applying for professional or vocational licenses" may be closed. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92-5(a)(1).

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  • Idaho

    Not specified.

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  • Illinois

    An examination is not a meeting within the definition of the Act. It is very doubtful that such an examination would be open to the public. A meeting to discuss the contents of an examination most surely is justifiably closed under personnel exemptions, since test questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer an academic examination or determine the qualifications of an applicant for a license or employment are exempt from public disclosure under 5 ILCS 140/7(j) of the FOI Act.

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  • Indiana

    Executive sessions, which are closed, may be held “[t]o prepare or score examinations used in issuing licenses, certificates, permits, or registrations.” Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(12). Furthermore, if the meeting is to discuss particular questions to be included in tests or to discuss results identifiable to a particular person, this meeting could be closed under the exemption for discussion of records classified as confidential by state or federal statute. See Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(7). Such records would be confidential under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act. Ind. Code §§ 5-14-3-4(a)(7), (b)(3)–(4).

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  • Iowa

    While no Iowa statute governing the open/closed nature of licensing examination sessions has been found, it is unlikely that members of the public would be allowed to attend. Most such examinations are confidential. See e.g., Iowa Code §§ 542B.32 (engineers), 147.37 (nursing home administrators), and 544A.27 (architects); meetings to discuss confidential records need not be held in public. Iowa Code § 21.5(1)(a).

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  • Kansas

    Not addressed by Kansas law.

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  • Kentucky

    Presumptively open if a quorum of the members of a public agency are present to discuss or carry out public business [Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.810(1)], but may be closed to prevent disclosure of test questions or other examination data if the same exam is to be given again. Such records are exempt from disclosure under Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(g) of the Open Records Act.

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  • Louisiana

    May be closed if they involve discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of any person, unless that person requests an open meeting. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 42:17(A)(1). Otherwise, such examinations are open. Op. Att'y Gen. 74-1103 (administrative hearing to consider the revocation of a license and closing of a nursing home shall be open to the public); Op. Att'y Gen. 77-1 (City-parish council meeting to discuss the appeal of a denial of an alcoholic beverage control license must be open unless the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of the potential licensee is discussed).

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  • Maine

    Closed to the public. 1 M.R.S.A § 405(G).

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  • Maryland

    Meetings to prepare, administer, or grade scholastic, licensing or qualifying examinations may be closed. § 3-305(b)(11).

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  • Michigan

    Not addressed.

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  • Montana

    Not a basis for closing a meeting.

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  • Nebraska

    No specific exemption.

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  • Nevada

    Closed. NRS 241.030(1)(b).

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  • New Hampshire

    There is no case law on this issue but such matters would probably support a nonpublic session. See RSA 91-A:5, IV.

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  • New Jersey

    The judicial branch of government is specifically excluded from coverage by the OPMA, N.J.S.A. 10:4-8a, and Grand Jury proceedings are confidential. N.J. Court Rule 3:6-7.

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  • New Mexico

    Subject to Open Meetings exclusion, except that portion in which evidence is offered or rebutted, shall be open. NMSA 1978 § 10-15-1(H)(1).

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  • North Carolina

    Professional licensing boards are exempt from the Open Meetings Law “while preparing, approving, administering, or grading examinations.” G.S. § 143-318.18(6).

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  • North Dakota

    Not open. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.8.

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  • Ohio

    There is no authority for closing licensing examinations as such, where they otherwise qualify as prearranged discussions of public business by a majority of the members of a public body. In limited circumstances, the state medical board, state nursing board, state pharmacy board, state chiropractic board, and state dental board may close sessions related to determining whether to suspend licenses without hearing. Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22(D); Ohio Rev. Code § 4715.03.

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  • Oklahoma

    The State Board of Examiners of Psychologists could not hold a closed meeting to determine the qualifications of applicants to be examined and licensed. 1976 OK AG 242.

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  • Oregon

    These matters would only rarely be the subject of a public meeting because the governing body is unlikely to vote on passage or failure of an applicant’s examination performance. To the extent that licensing matters are voted upon by agencies (e.g., liquor licensing), such discussion is conducted in public session unless it is a contested case hearing by an administrative agency exempt under ORS 192.690(1).

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  • Rhode Island

    No specific exemption.

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  • South Carolina

    Licensing examinations would be subject to the act only if conducted by a quorum of a public body. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-20(e).

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  • Tennessee

    Presumably open.

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  • Texas

    In Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. JM-640 (1987), the Attorney General concluded that a session of the Polygraph Examiners Board held solely for the purpose of examining prospective licensees would involve no “deliberation” between members and, therefore, was not a “meeting” subject to the Act. The Attorney General has also concluded that testing committees of the Texas Department of Health that review and approve the contents of licensing examinations are not authorized to meet in executive sessions under the Act, since no provision of the Act or any other statute authorizes such sessions. Tex. Att’y Gen. Op. No. LO 96-058 (1996).

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  • Utah

    There is no express provision in the Open Meetings Act that licensing examinations may be closed to the public, but the exemption concerning the “discussion of the character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of an individual” probably would be held to cover this situation. Utah Code § 52-4-205(1)(a).

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  • Vermont

    Presumed open, unless treated as evaluation of public employee.  1 V.S.A. § 313(a)(4).

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  • Virginia

    Discussion or consideration of tests, examinations or information administered by or prepared for a public body for the purpose of evaluating the qualifications of a person for any license or certificate issued by a pubic body may be closed.  Va. Code § 2.2-3711.A.12 (referencing record exclusion in Va. Code § 2.2-3705.1.4.)

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  • Washington

    Meetings concerned with granting or denying a license are excluded from OPMA and, therefore, may be closed. See RCW 42.30.140. However, the fact-finding portion of such meetings often is open to the public.

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  • West Virginia

    Subject to the access requirements of the open courts provision of the state constitution, discussed previously, the Open Meetings Act permits public bodies to meet in executive session to "issue, effect, deny, suspend or revoke a license, certificate or registration under the laws of this state or any political subdivision." W. Va. Code § 6-9A-4(4). The person seeking such license may request an open meeting.

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  • Wyoming

    When the agency is a licensing agency, the governing body may close sessions while preparing, administering or grading examinations. Wyo. Stat. § 16-4-405(a)(v) (1977, Rev. 1982); See also, Wyo. Stat. § 16-3-113 (1977, Rev. 1993 & Cum. Supp. 1996).

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