2012 OPEN MEETING LAW and Legislative Amendments. Presented by CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO Nevada Attorney General Spring, 2012. Complaints for Years: 2000 -2009. Legislative Declaration Of Intent.
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CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
Nevada Attorney General
All public bodies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. NRS 241.010.
AB 257 amended Public comment requirements;
Section 5, AB 59: Public body must state on agenda that:
A public body need not notice an applicant for employment. This exception only applies when and where the public body is the appointing authority and the employee will serve at the pleasure of the public body.
NOT THE EXCEPTION;
The OML is:
“…for the public benefit and should be liberally construed and broadly interpreted to promote openness in government.”
Dewey v. Redevelopment Agency of City of Reno, 119 Nev. 87, 94 (2003)
public body must publish Attorney General’s opinion which found violation the OML on its next agenda.
Public body may hold closed meeting to:
(a) Consider the character, alleged misconduct, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person.
(b) Prepare, revise, administer or grade examinations that are conducted by or on behalf of the public body.
(c) Consider an appeal by a person of the results of an examination that was conducted by or on behalf of the public body, except that any action on the appeal must be taken in an open meeting and the identity of the appellant must remain confidential.
Statutory Exemptions: Manual sec.4.02
Section 4.01 of the OML Manual illustrates distinction between “exemption” and “exception”;
Exemption applies to all entity’s proceedings;
Exception applies only to certain entity proceedings, not all of them.
Witherow v. State, Bd of Parole Commissioners, 123 Nev 305 (2007)
1) evidentiary hearing;
2) cross examination of witnesses;
3) written decision by public body;
4) right of appeal to higher authority.
Does the OML require “meaningful” public comment? (Recent decision in 8th J.D)
Any limitation should be clearly articulated on the public body’s agenda;
Identify public body practices which discourage public comment?
Chairperson’s discretion to allow more time or limit an individual’s time.
Current Attorney General interpretation of NRS 241.015(3) mandate that the legal status of the parent body applies to it’s “committee, subcommittee or any subsidiary thereof”
Electronic Communications such as telephone, fax or email, may not be used to circumvent the spirit or letter of the Open Meeting Law in order to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory powers. Del Papa v Board of Regents of the CCSN, 114. Nev.388,400 (1998).
Must include a list of general topics concerning the person to be discussed during the closed meeting, and it must
Include a statement of the rights of the individual to counsel during the meeting and the right to call witnesses and offer evidence relevant to the issues.
The notice may include an informational (NRS 241.033(2)(b), but it:
Notice to Individuals pursuant to NRS 241.034
…is based on NRS 241.037:
“Any suit brought against a public body … to require compliance with the provisions of this chapter must be commenced within 120 days after the action objected to was taken by that public body in violation of this chapter. Any such suit brought to have an action declared void must be commenced within 60 days after the action objected to was taken.”
The Attorney General’s policy for enforcement of Open Meeting Law complaints is:
Carson City, Nevada 89701