Act 267, 1976, p. 1004; Eff. Mar 31, 1977.
AN ACT to requires certain meetings of certain public bodies to be open to the public; to require notice and the keeping of minutes of meetings; to provide for enforcement; to provide for invalidation of governmental decisions under certain circumstances; to provide penalties, and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
15.261 Short title; effect of act on certain charter provisions, ordinances, or resolution.
(1) This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Open Act Meeting".
(2) This act shall supersede all local charter provisions, ordinances, or resolutions which relate to requirements for meetings of local public bodies to be open to the public.
(3) After the effective date of this act, nothing in this act shall prohibit a public body from adopting an ordinance, resolution, rule, or charter provision which would require a greater degrees of openness relative to meetings of public bodies than the standards provided for in this act.
Sec.2. As used in this act:
(a) "Public body" means any state or local legislative or governing body, including a board, commission, committee, subcommittee, authority, or council, which is empowered by state constitution, statute, charter, ordinance, resolution, or rule to exercise governmental or proprietary authority or perform a governmental or proprietary function, or a lessee thereof performing an essential public purpose and function pursuant to the lease agreement.
(b) "Meeting" means the convening of a public body at which quorum is present for the purpose of deliberating toward or rendering a decision on a public policy.
(c) "Closed session" means a meeting or part of a meeting of a public body which is closed to the public.
(d) "Decision" means a determination, action, vote, or disposition upon a motion, proposal, recommendation, resolution, order, ordinance, bill, or measure on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy.
History: New 1976, p. 1004, Act 267, Eff. Mar. 31, 1977.
15.263 Meetings, decisions, and deliberations of public body; requirements; attending or addressing meeting of public body; exclusion from meeting; exemptions.
(1) All meetings of a public body shall be open to the public and shall be held in a place available to the general public. All persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting except as otherwise provided in this act.
(2) All decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.
(3) All deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum of its members shall take place at a meeting open to the public except as provided in this section and section 7 and 8.
(4) A person shall not be required as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a public body to register or otherwise provide his or her name or other information or otherwise to fulfill a condition precedent to attendance.
(5) A person shall be permitted to address a meeting of a public body under rules established and recorded by the public body. The legislative or a house of the legislature may provide by rule that the right to address may be limited to prescribed times at hearings and committee meetings only.
(6) A person shall not be excluded from a public meeting except for a breach of the peace actually committed at the meeting.
(7) This act does not apply to judicial proceedings but does apply to a court while exercising rule-making authority and while deliberating or deciding upon the issuance of administrative orders.
(8) This act does not apply to the following boards, commission, or panel only when deliberating the merits of a case:
(a) The worker's compensation appeal board created under Act No. 317 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being sections 418.101 to 418.941 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(b) The employment security appeals board created under Act No. 1 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1936, as amended, being sections 421.1 to 421.70 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(c) The state tenure commission created under Act No. 4 of the Public Acts of the Extra Session of 1937, as amended, being sections 38.71 to 38.191 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, when acting as a board of review from the decision of a controlling board.
(d) An arbitrator or arbitration panel appointed by the employment relations commission pursuant to the authority given the commission by Act No. 176 of the Public Acts of 1939, as amended, being sections 423.1 to 423.30 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(e) An arbitration panel selected pursuant to chapter 50A of Act No. 236 of the Public Acts of 1961, being sections 600.5040 to 600.5065 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(9) This act does not apply to a committee of a public body which adopts a non-policymaking resolution of tribute or memorial and which is not adopted at a meeting as defined in section 2.
(10) This act does not apply to a meeting which is a social or chance gathering or conference not designed to avoid this act.
(11) This act shall not apply to the Michigan veterans' trust fund board of trustees or a county or district committee when the board of trustees or county or district committee is deliberating the merits of an emergent need. A decision of the board of trustees or county or district committee made pursuant to this subsection shall be reconsidered by the board or committee at its next regular or special meeting consistent with the requirements of this act. "Emergent need" means a situation which the board of trustees, by rules promulgated pursuant to Act No. 306 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, being sections 24.201 to 24.315 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, determines requires immediate action.
15.264 Public notice of meetings generally; contents; places of posting.
Sec. 4. The following provisions shall apply with respect to public notice of meetings:
(a) A public notice shall always contain the name of the public body to which the notice applies, its telephone number if one exists, and its address.
(b) A public notice for a public body shall always be posted at its principal office and any other locations considered appropriate by the public body. Cable television may also be utilized for purposes of posting public notice.
(c) If a public body is a part of a state department, part of the legislative or judicial branch of state government, part of an institution of higher education, or part of a political subdivision or school district, a public notice shall also be posted in the respective principal office of the state department, the institution of higher education, clerk of the house of representatives, secretary of the state senate, clerk of the supreme court, or political subdivision or school district.
(d) If a public body does not have a principal office, the required public notice for a local public body shall be posted in the office of the county clerk in which the public body serves and the required public notice for a state public body shall be posted in the office of the secretary of state.
15.265 Public notice of regular meetings, change in schedule of regular meetings, rescheduled regular meetings, or special meetings; time for posting; statement of date, time, and place; applicability of subsection (4); recess or adjournment; emergency sessions; meeting in residential dwelling; notice.
(1) A meeting of a public body shall not be held unless public notice is given as provided in this section by a person designated by the public body.
(2) For regular meetings of a public body, there shall be posted within 10 days after the first meeting of the public body in each calendar or fiscal year a public notice stating the dates, times, and places of its regular meetings.
(3) If there is a change in the schedule of regular meetings of a public body, there shall be posted within 3 days after the meeting at which the change is made, a public notice stating the new dates, times, and places of its regular meetings.
(4) Except as provided in this subsection or in subsection (6), for a rescheduled regular or a special meeting of a public body, a public notice stating the date, time, and place of the meeting shall be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting. The requirement of 18-hour notice shall not apply to special meetings of subcommittees of a public body or conference committees of the state legislature. A conference committee shall give a 6-hour notice. A second conference committee shall give a 1-hour notice. Notice of a conference committee meeting shall include written notice to each member of the conference committee and the majority and minority leader of each house indicating time and place of the meeting. This subsection does not apply to a public meeting held pursuant to section 4(2) to (5) of Act No. 239 of the Public Acts of 1955, as amended, being section 200.304 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.
(5) A meeting of a public body which is recessed for more than 36 hours shall be reconvened only after public notice, which is equivalent to that required under subsection (4), has been posted. If either house of the state legislature is adjourned or recessed for less than 18 hours, the notice provisions of subsection (4) are not applicable. Nothing in this section shall bar a public body from meeting in emergency session in the event of a severe and imminent threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the public when 2/3 of the members serving on the body decide that delay would be detrimental to efforts to lessen or respond to the threat.
(6) A meeting of a public body may only take place in a residential dwelling if a nonresidential building within the boundary of the local governmental unit or school system is not available without cost to the public body. For a meeting of a public body which is held in a residential dwelling, notice of the meeting shall be published as a display advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or township in which the meeting is to be held. The notice shall be published not less than 2 days before the day on which the meeting is held, and shall state the date, time, and place of the meeting. The notice, which shall be at the bottom of the display advertisement and which shall be set off in a conspicuous manner, shall include the following language: "This meeting is open to all members of the public under Michigan's open meetings act".
15.266 Providing copies of public notice on written request; fee.
(1) Upon the written request of an individual, organization, firm, or corporation, and upon the requesting party's payment of a yearly fee of not more than the reasonable estimated cost for printing and postage of such notices, a public body shall send to the requesting party by first class mail a copy of any notice required to be posted pursuant to section 5(2) to (5).
(2) Upon written request, a public body, at the same time a public notice of a meeting is posted pursuant to section 5, shall provide a copy of the public notice of that meeting to any newspaper published in the state and to any radio and television station located in the state, free of charge.
15.267 Closed sessions; roll call vote; separate set of minutes.
(1) A 2/3 roll call vote of members elected or appointed and serving shall be required to call a closed session, except for the closed sessions permitted under section 8(a), (b), (c), and (g). The roll call vote and the purpose of purposes for calling the closed session shall be entered into the minutes of the meeting at which the vote is taken.
(2) A separate set of minutes shall be taken by the clerk or the designated secretary of the public body at the closed session. These minutes shall be retained by the clerk of the public body, shall not be available to the public, and shall only be disclosed if required by a civil action filed under section 10, 11, or 13. These minutes may be destroyed 1 year and 1 day after approval of the minutes of the regular meeting at which the closed session was approved.
15.268 Closed sessions; permissible purposes.
Sec. 8. A public body may meet in a closed session only for the following purposes:
(a) To consider the dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation of, a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual agent, if the named person requests a closed hearing. A person requesting a closed hearing may rescind the request at any time, in which case the matter at issue shall be considered thereafter only in open sessions.
(b) To consider the dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of a student if the public body is part of the school district, intermediate school district, or institution of higher education which the student is attending, and if the student or the student's parent or guardian requests a closed hearing.
(c) For strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement if either negotiating party requests a closed hearing.
(d) To consider the purchase or lease of real property up to the time an option to purchase or lease that real property is obtained.
(e) To consult with its attorney regarding trial or settlement strategy in connection with specific pending litigation, but only if an open meeting would have a detrimental financial effect on the litigating or settlement position of the public body.
(f) To review the specific contents of an application for employment or appointment to a public office if the candidate requests that the application remain confidential. However, all interviews by a public body for employment or appointment to a public office shall be held in an open meeting pursuant to this act.
(g) Partisan caucuses of members of the state legislature.
(h) To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute.
15.269 Minutes generally.
(1) Each public body shall keep minutes of each meeting showing the date, time, place, members present, members absent, any decisions made at a meeting open to the public, and the purpose or purposes for which a closed session is held. The minutes shall include all roll call votes taken at the meeting. Corrections in the minutes shall be made not later than the next meeting after the meeting to which the minutes refer. Corrected minutes shall be available no later than the next subsequent meeting after correction. The corrected minutes shall show both the original entry and the correction.
(2) Minutes shall be public record open to public inspection and shall be available at the address designated on posted public notices pursuant of section 4. Copies of the minutes shall be available to the public at the reasonable estimated cost for printing and copying.
(3) Proposed minutes shall be available for public inspection not more than 8 business days after the meeting to which the minutes refer. Approved minutes shall be available for public inspection not later than 5 business days after the meeting at which the minutes are approved by the public body.
15.270 Decisions of public body; presumption; civil action to invalidate; jurisdiction; venue; reenactment of disputed decision.
(1) Decisions of a public body shall be presumed to have been adopted in compliance with the requirements of this act. The attorney general, the prosecuting attorney of the county in which the public body serves, or any person may commence a civil action in the circuit court to challenge the validity of a decision of a public body made in violation of this act.
(2) A decision made by a public body may be invalidated if the public body has not complied with the requirements of section 3(1), (2) and (3) in making the decision or if failure to give notice in accordance with section 5 has interfered with substantial compliance with section 3(1), (2), and (3) and the court finds that the noncompliance or failure has impaired the rights of the public under this act.
(3) The circuit court shall not have jurisdiction to invalidate a decision of a public body for a violation of this act unless an action is commenced pursuant to this section within the following specified period of time:
(a) Within 60 days after the approved minutes are made available to the public by the public body except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b).
(b) If the decision involves the approval of contracts, the receipt or acceptance of bids, the making of assessments, the procedures pertaining to the issuance of bonds or other evidences of indebtedness, or the submission of a borrowing proposal to the electors, within 30 days after the approved minutes are made available to the public pursuant to that decision.
(4) Venue for an action under this section shall be any county in which a local public body serves or, if the decision of a state public body is at issue, in Ingham county.
(5) In any case where an action has been initiated to invalidate a decision of a public body on the ground that it was not taken in conformity with the requirements of this act, the public body may, without being deemed to make any admission contrary to its interest, reenact the disputed decision in conformity with this act. A decision reenacted in this manner shall be effective from the date of reenactment and shall not be declared invalid by reason of a deficiency in the procedure used for its initial enactment.
15.271 Civil action to compel compliance or enjoin noncompliance; commencement; venue; security not required; commencement of action for mandamus; court costs and attorney fees.
(1) If a public body is not complying with this act, the attorney general, prosecuting attorney of the county in which the public body serves, or a person may commence a civil action to compel compliance or to enjoin further noncompliance with this act.
(2) An action for injunctive relief against a local public body shall be commenced in the circuit court, and venue is proper in any county in which the public body serves. An action for an injunction against a state public body shall be commenced in the circuit court and venue is proper in any county in which the public body has its principal office, or in Ingham county. If a person commences an action for injunctive relief, that person shall not be required to post security as a condition for obtaining a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order.
(3) An action for mandamus against a public body under this act shall be commenced in the court of appeals.
(4) If a public body is not complying with this act and a person commences a civil action against the public body for injunctive relief to compel compliance or to enjoin further noncompliance with the act and succeeds in obtaining relief in the action, the person shall recover court costs and actual attorney fees for the action.
15.272 Violation as misdemeanor; penalty.
(1) A public official who intentionally violates this act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00.
(2) A public official who is convicted of intentionally violating a provision of this act for a second time within the same term shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $2,000.00, or imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both.
15.273 Violation; liability.
(1) A public official who intentionally violates this act shall be personally liable in a civil action for actual and exemplary damages of not more than $500.00 total, plus court costs and actual attorney fees to a person or group of persons bringing the action.
(2) Not more than 1 action under this section shall be brought against a public official for a single meeting. An action under this section shall be commenced within 180 days after the date of the violation which gives rise to the cause of action.
(3) An action for damages under this section may be joined with an action for injunctive or exemplary relief under section 11.