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Massachusetts law about open meetings

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on open meetings law

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.30A, s.18-25. Mass. Open Meeting Law

Massachusetts regulations

940 CMR 29 Open Meeting Law Regulations

Forms

Open Meeting Law Complaint Form, Mass. Attorney General (see additional resources below)

Additional Resources

Selected case law

District Attorney for the Northern District v. Wayland School Committee, 455 Mass. 561 (2009)
"Prior to conducting an open meeting, the school committee commenced a private e-mail exchange in order to deliberate the superintendent's professional competence. This violated the letter and spirit of the open meeting law. Governmental bodies may not circumvent the requirements of the open meeting law by conducting deliberations via private messages, whether electronically, in person, over the telephone, or in any other form."

District Attorney for the Plymouth District v. Board of Selectmen of Middleborough, 395 Mass. 629 (1985)
The Board could not hold executive sessions for purposes other than those enumerated in MGL chapter 39, sec. 29B.

Three Registered Voters v. Lynnfield Board of Selectmen, 90 Mass. App. Ct. 15 (2016)
"Discussion of the new provisions of the open meeting law, G. L. c. 30A, §§ 18-25"

Web sources

Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Educational Materials, Mass. Attorney General
Detailed coverage of every aspect of the open meeting law, "written for the ease of every-day users for whom the provisions of the OML are important." Also has Public body checklists, which includes entering into executive session, posting a meeting notice, and creating & approving minutes of meetings

Newsgathering in Massachusetts, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, May 2013
Covers open meetings, public records law, access to courts and court records, recording public officials and more, with extensive footnotes to primary law sources.

The Open Meeting Law, Mass. Attorney General
The starting place for the large collection of resources from the attorney general, including the law, regulations, documents, complaint form and more.

Open Meeting Law Determinations, Mass. Attorney General, August 2010-date
"The determination letters are intended to be a resource and provide helpful guidance on the requirements of the Open Meeting Law."

Open Meeting Law Video Training, Mass. Attorney General
"This presentation has been recorded by the Attorney General's Division of Open Government to serve as a resource to members of the public and public bodies seeking to understand the requirements of the Open Meeting Law. The presentation is divided up into six videos, and is current as of March 1, 2012. The run time for all six videos together is about one hour. You may view the six videos in succession to cover the entire presentation, or you may select specific videos on topics of interest."

Guidelines on the Public's Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and RecordsMass. Supreme Judicial Court (see additional resources below)
Developed "to assist you in identifying relevant court rules, statutes and case law covering a variety of issues which relate to judicial proceedings."

Additional Resources

Massachusetts Practice, vol. 18 (Municipal Law) West Group, with supplement, chapter 8

Massachusetts Practice vol. 39 (Administrative Law and Practice) West Group, with supplement, chapters 16 and 18

Last update: September 2, 2016

 

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