BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey announced last month her office has proposed updates to the Open Meeting Law regulations to increase transparency and make the law easier to follow and enforce.
Earlier this year, the AG’s Office sought initial input from the public on potential updates to the Open Meeting Law regulations.
The AG’s Division of Open Government – which is responsible for educating public bodies and individuals about the Open Meeting Law, enforcing the Open Meeting Law, and acting as a readily accessible resource for members of government, the public, and the press – then conducted a review of the comments and drafted proposed updates.
These proposed regulations are open for public comment until August 3 and will be finalized by the AG’s Office after a public hearing and close of the comment period.
Some of the AG’s proposed updates to the Open Meeting Law regulations include:
- Meeting Notices: Requires that when a website goes down, a public body or a municipality will have four hours during a business day to resolve website access before public bodies are required to cancel their meetings and post new notices.
- Public Body Member Certification: Requires that new public body members receive a copy of each determination from the last three years where the AG’s Office found the public body violated the Open Meeting Law.
- Resolution of Complaints: Requires public bodies that receive an order from the AG’s Office to certify in writing its compliance with the order within 30 days.
- Meeting Minutes: The Open Meeting Law currently requires that public bodies approve meeting minutes in a “timely manner.” This update defines “timely manner” as within the next three regular meetings, unless a public body has good cause for its delay.
The public is invited to comment on the proposed regulations at a public hearing scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3 in Conference Rooms C and D on the 2nd Floor of 100 Cambridge Street in Boston.
The public is also encouraged to submit written comments on the proposed regulations.
To submit comments electronically, members of the public can emailAGORegulations@State.MA.US or via mail to Division of Open Government, Office of the Attorney General, One Ashburton Place, 20th Floor, Boston, MA 02108. Comments are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2017.
The proposed regulations have been posted on the Attorney General’s website.
The proposed regulations may also be requested by calling the Attorney General’s Division of Open Government at 617-963-2540.