Tag Archives: government transparency
Open Meeting Records

Quick Guide to the MA Open Meeting Law – Part 3 of 3

WHAT RECORDS MUST BE KEPT? GENERAL REQUIREMENTS Accurate minutes must be created, approved & maintained in a timely manner for all public body meetings, including executive sessions.  The record must specify: Date, time, and place of the meeting Members present, members absent, & members participating remotely along with the reason for remote participation Decisions made, […]

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Executive Session

Quick Guide to the MA Open Meeting Law – Part 2 of 3

WHEN ARE EXECUTIVE SESSIONS OK? SPECIFIC EXEMPTIONS TO THE OPEN MEETING LAW Although the Open Meeting Law requires that all meetings by public bodies be open to the public, it recognizes that discussion of certain topics may appropriately be held in executive, or closed, sessions.  The list of valid/approved executive session topics is limited and […]

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Open Meeting Law 2

Quick Guide to the MA Open Meeting Law – Part 1 of 3

WHEN DO OPEN MEETING RULES APPLY THE DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE ANSWER When members of a public body in Massachusetts deliberate with each other regarding matters under the jurisdiction of that public body, the exchange (verbal, written, or electronic) has to be open to the public. DETAILS BEHIND THE SIMPLE ANSWER On its face, the Massachusetts Open […]

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hispanic.voters

Deposition Fight Over Texas Voter ID Law is a BIG DEAL

The State of Texas and the US Department of Justice are slugging it out in federal court over DOJ’s request to depose 12 Texas lawmakers on behind-the-scene details of the state’s 2011 Voter ID Law requiring voters to produce valid government-issued photo IDs (Court Orders More Briefings). The Issues.   Texas and a number of other […]

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Governor Brownback

Open Meeting “Sunshine” Blinds Politicos Far & Wide

The Judicial Branch really gets the concept of transparency.  Although there are occasional missteps, overwhelmingly the Courts understand how all this Open Meeting & Sunshine stuff really needs to work.  For example, when the Supreme Court has a closed-door, Justices-only conferenceto discuss the future of healthcare, the secrecy of those discussions is universally viewed as […]

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Martha Coakley

Background on the MA Open Meeting Law

The Massachusettts Open Meeting Law was initially adopted into the local government in 1975.  This meant public officials lost all rights to make decisions regarding public agenda privately.  However, this law spent years being unenforced or misconstrued.  Sometimes, government officials would discuss public information in cafes or over the phone, without a public presence. Ever […]

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committee-meeting[1]

Complaint of Open Meeting Law Violation

Rehoboth Financial Committee Resolves Meeting Minutes After Christopher Morra Reports Complaint FinCom member Christopher Morra filed a complaint against the Rehoboth Financial Committee for not including his testimony and motion in the meeting minutes.  This complaint was filed on December 14th citing that the minutes taken on October 13th violate the Open Meeting Law.  An entire […]

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public_hearing[1]

New Addition to the Open Meeting Law

A new condition to the Open Meeting Law in Massachusetts could take place.  Attorney General Martha Coakley proposed this new change.  This proposition makes a distinction in the violation of the Open Meeting Law.  If a public body knowingly violates the Open Meeting Law, then they will be subject to a large fine. This new […]

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town-meeting2[1]

New Resolution to Open Meeting Law Faces Opposition

In Tennessee, a resolution to the open meeting law is having some opposition.  This resistance was started by a member of the Tennessee County Commissioners Association.  This new resolution to the open meeting law will make it impossible for both the general public and the media to attend certain meetings of the local government. The […]

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town-meeting[1]

Massachusetts Open Meeting Law

Not long ago, a new section to the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law was added.  Beforehand, a lot of town business was taken care of without as much input from the citizens of the town.  There wasn’t much announcement on the specifics of each town meeting and citizens did not know what would be discussed at each meeting.  […]

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