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Friday, July 20, 2012

Update: OMA Bill Amending Agenda Requirements Now Law

In previous blog posts (May 7, 2012, April 17, 2012, and  February 23, 2012) we reported on HB 4687, the bill that would require public body meeting agendas to identify the "general subject matter" of an ordinance or resolution to be voted on at a meeting.  That bill also requires public bodies to ensure that meeting notices and agendas are continuously available for public review during the entire 48 hour period before a meeting.  Yesterday, the Governor signed HB 4687 into law as P.A. 097-0827

You may recall that we had raised concerns about previous versions of this bill that would have required agendas to be "sufficiently descriptive" regarding any item that would be acted on or even discussed at a public meeting.  The legislation is now limited to ordinances and resolutions that are to be voted on at a meeting. 

The language requiring public bodies to make sure that agendas and meeting notices are "continuously available for public review" for the 48 hour period before a meeting remained in the legislation.  Many public bodies may encounter some difficulty in complying with that particular amendment.  For example, many municipalities post their agendas and notices inside city or village hall.  If city or village hall is not continuously open to the public for the 48 hour period prior to a meeting, however, the municipality will need to find an alternative posting area for meeting agendas where the public can view these agendas, apparently at any time of the day or night.  Of course, any alternative location must still comply with other language in section 2.02(b) requiring notices and agendas to be posted "at the principal office of the body holding the meeting" or if no such office exists, then "at the building in which the meeting is to be held."  That would seem to require a municipality to either (1) keep village or city hall open 24/7 for the 48 hour period before a meeting or (2) post meeting notices outside village or city hall.  Alternatively, the public body can post and maintain the agenda and notice on the public body's website and that will satisfy the requirement for continuous posting.

Public bodies will have to comply with these new requirements beginning January 1, 2013.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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