Wednesday, September 28, 2011

AG Launches Searchable Site for Open Meeting Rulings

After taking over enforcement of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law last year, Attorney General Martha Coakley launched a portion of her website devoted to the new law,, and later began posting the determinations issued by her office in response to complaints under the law.

Now that site has taken a major step forward in usability by adding an OML Determination Lookup feature. Before, you could only browse determinations by name of case. That told you nothing about the issue involved in the case. Now, the site lets you search for key terms or phrases or by actions ordered. You can also search by city or town, county, or public body.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

20 Mass. Newspapers Publish Joint Editorial Calling for Stronger Access Laws

Today, 20 daily newspapers in Massachusetts took the unprecedented step of publishing the same editorial, one calling for stronger public records and open meeting laws in Massachusetts.

Links to all the editorials are compiled at the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association website.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Open Meeting Advisory Commission to Meet Sept. 8

The Open Meeting Law Advisory Commission is meeting Thursday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m., 100 Cambridge St., 2nd Floor, Conference Room A, Boston.

Here is the notice of meeting and agenda: OMLAC Notice of Meeting 09-08-11. The meeting is open to the public.

(I sit on the OMLAC as the representative of the Mass. Newspaper Publishers Association.)

Hearing Tomorrow on Proposed Regs to Allow Remote Participation in Public Meetings

The Attorney General will hold a public hearing tomorrow, Sept. 6, on proposed regulations that would allow members of public boards and commissions to participate in meetings remotely under certain circumstances.

The proposed regs would allow a member to participate remotely only for:
  • Personal illness.
  • Personal disability.
  • Emergency.
  • Military service.
  • Geographic distance.
The regs would require that a quorum be physically present at the meeting location and that remote participants be clearly audible to everyone in attendance at the meeting location.

The public hearing on the proposed regs is 4 to 6 p.m. and will be held at One Ashburton Place, 21st Floor, Boston. You can obtain a PDF of the proposed regulations here: Request for Comment on Proposed Regulations.