Open Meeting Law
The Minnesota open meeting law ( Minnesota Statute 13D ) defines public meetings and governs the timing and type of notice required.
"Meetings" subject to open meeting law requirements
Those gatherings of a quorum or more members of the governing body, or a quorum of a committee, subcommittee board, department or commission thereof, at which members discuss, decide or receive information as a group on issues relating to the official business of that governing body.
All "chance or social gatherings" are exempt from the requirements of the statute; a quorum may not, as a group, discuss or receive information on official business in any setting under the guise of private social gathering. The statute does not apply to letters or telephone conversations between fewer than a quorum.
Serial meetings in groups of less than a quorum for the purposes of avoiding public hearings or fashioning agreement on an issue may also be found to be a violation of a statute if under the facts of the situation it is clear the intent was to circumvent the open meeting law.
Violation by any person shall be subject to personal liability in the form of a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $300 for a single occurrence, which may not be paid by the public body. Upon a third violation by the same person connected with the same governing body, such person shall forfeit any further right to serve on such governing body or in any other capacity with such public body for a period of time equal to the term of offices such person was then serving.
In any open meeting, the public must have access to at least one copy of any printed materials, excluding data classified as not public, relating to the agenda items of the meeting. This includes information prepared or distributed by or at the direction of the governing body or its employees and which are:
- distributed at the meeting to all members of the governing body
- distributed before the meeting to all members
- available in the meeting room to all members
If a person receives actual notice of meeting of a public body at least 24 hours before the meeting, all notice requirements of the Minnesota open meeting law are satisfied with respect to that person regardless of the method of receiving notice.
Votes of the members of the public body on any action taken in a meeting subject to the Minnesota open meeting law must be recorded in a journal kept for that purpose and that such journal be open to the public during normal business hours.
Definition: Regular meetings are established at the Organization meeting of the City Council held in January of even-numbered years. In odd-numbered years, the Council meeting dates are established by the Council before the end of the previous year.
If there is a deviation in the meeting time or place, notice must be provided as required for a special meeting.
Definition: A meeting other than an emergency meeting or a special meeting for which a notice requirement is otherwise expressly established by statute.
Notification: Provided three days before the date of the meeting:
- posts written notice of the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting on the Council bulletin board
- mails or otherwise delivers to each person who has filed a written request for such notice with the public body, or publishes notice in the official newspaper of the public body.
Definition: A meeting called because of circumstances that, in the judgment of the public body, require immediate consideration by the public body.
Notification: Given by phone or any other method used to notify the members of the public body. The public body shall make good faith efforts to provide notice of the meeting to each news medium that has filed a written request for notice as soon as reasonably practicable after notice to the public body. Notice includes the subject of the meeting. Posted or published notice is optional.
Definition: A meeting which is recessed or continued and the time and place of the meeting established during the previous meeting and recorded in the minutes of that meeting before the meeting is concluded.
Notification: No further published or mailed notice is necessary.
Definition: A meeting closed to the public to consider issues such as strategy of labor negotiations or meetings of public bodies with their legal counsel to discuss litigation strategy.
Requirements: Before closing a meeting , a public body shall state on the record the specific grounds permitting the meeting to be closed and describe the subject to be discussed. See Minnesota Statute 13D.03 for labor negotiation exception.
Notification: Notice requirements apply.
For information, see Minnesota Statute 13D or call the City Attorney, 673-3272
City Clerks Office -
Revised - 2005
Last updated Sep. 27, 2011