by eila in Announcements, Beat Reporter, Civic Action, Civil and Human Rights, Investigative Reports, Politics, Press Release, Special
Posted on April 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm
Last Modified on July 5, 2010 at 9:26 pm
news from the MA AG’s office:
Open Meeting Law Changes – Request for Comment
The Open Meeting Law was recently revised as part of the 2009 Ethics Reform Bill, and will centralize responsibility for state-wide enforcement of the law in the Office of the Attorney General. The effective date of the revised law is July 1, 2010. Historically, the Attorney General has enforced the Open Meeting Law applicable to state governmental bodies. Local District Attorney’s Office‘s were responsible for enforcement of the laws relative to cities, towns, and counties.
Among the changes that become effective July 1, 2010, the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, § 19(c), will require that, for local public bodies, “notice of public meetings must be filed with the municipal clerk and posted in a manner conspicuously visible to the public at all hours in or on the municipal building in which the clerk’s office is located.” The law does not specify the ways in which cities and towns can satisfy this requirement, but an outdoor, weather-proof bulletin board would seem the most obvious means. Concerned about their practical ability to post numerous meeting notices outdoors, many municipalities have requested that the Attorney General approve alternative notice posting methods as allowed by the Open Meeting Law. Specifically, numerous municipalities have requested that they be permitted to satisfy the “at all hours” requirements by posting their meeting notices on their town websites.
The AGO, through its Division of Open Government is requesting public comment on proposed alternatives to the notice posting requirement in the Open Meeting Law. Comment should be submitted by April 23, 2010.