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OPEN (PUBLIC) MEETINGS

00-12-28 (00-423)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=16718

See also: http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=16766

Open Meeting Law (R.S. 42:4.1) states that all meetings of public bodies must be open to the public - no telephone conferencing. The public policy behind the Open Meetings Law is to ensure the maintenance of a democratic society by requiring that all public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens may be aware of the performance of the public officials and the decisions that go into the making of public policy.

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00-01-31 (99-418)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=16368

The delegated authority to the committee or subcommittee designated under proposed Rule XIII creates a public body subject to the open meetings laws. Any meetings held by that public body must conform with all notice requirements under those laws.

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99-12-06 (99-385)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=16357

Member of public body cannot attend a meeting or vote by way of telephone (this would not satify the open meetings law). In order to establish a quorum of a public body, the physical presence of a simple majority of the total membership of that body is required.

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94-09-07 (94-376)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=14303

R.S. 42:7.1 mandates all public bodies shall keep written minutes of all their open meetings and sets forth what the minutes shall include. Public records are subject to retention for three years.

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94-04-04 (94-14)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=14008

An item may be added to the agenda of a public meeting by 2/3rds vote of members present.

The procedure for holding an executive session is set forth by statute requiring 2/3rds vote of the members present.

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93-11-18 (93-137)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=13467

The Open Meetings Law prohibits representation by proxy. Further, telephone polls cannot be used to authorize action by a public body. The remedy of mandamus may be available to compel attendance of members. Attendance at a meeting is not a discretionary duty, but is a duty purely ministerial in nature, for which the action of mandamus is appropriate.

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92-06-23 (92-352)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=12990

A member of the Lafayette Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board may not be represented by proxy. Proxy representation by a member of a public body, such as the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, is clearly prohibited regardless of whether it is written or oral form. (Also see opinions 81-10-27 (81-1156) and 78-09-12 (78-1144) attached to this opinion).

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92-06-04 (92-166)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=12855

Telephone polls of discussions to determine policy are violations of Open Meetings Laws.

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91-03-13 (91-48)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=12381

An individual's right to privacy guaranteed by Louisiana Constitution Article 1, Section 5 prevails over the public's "right to know" provided for by the Open Meeting Law and Louisiana Constitution Article 12, Section 3.
Trahan vs. Larivee, 365 So. 2d 294 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 1978).

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90-07-26 (90-349)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=12104

Members may meet if less than quorum is present if no action is taken and no vote is taken. They may meet if the purpose is not to evade public meetings law. Cautioned to avoid the so-called "walking quorum".

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89-12-04 (89-550)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=11732

The discussion of records privileged under the Public Records Law is grounds for an executive session under the Open Meetings Law.

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89-08-29 (89-352)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=11577

Opinion concerning whether or not social gatherings, at which a quorum is present, constitute meetings as envisioned by the open meeting laws.
Extensive comment in attached opinions 88-162, 88-08-31(88-358), 77-1508, 77-224, 76-1399.

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88-08-31 (88-358)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=11079

Less than a quorum of civil service board may meet to discuss matters without violation of open meetings law.

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87-11-23 (87-676)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=10758

See also AG Opinion No. 85-354 http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=9371

Substance of each item under new and old business must be stated in notice for upcoming meeting under Open Meetings Law in order to put interested persons on notice of what the proposed proceedings of the board are.

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85-04-30 (85-354)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=9371

See also AG Opinion #87-676 (11-23-87) http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=10758

Substance of each item under new and old business must be stated in notice for upcoming meeting under Open Meetings Law in order to put interested persons on notice of what the proposed proceedings of the board are.

The board secretary shall prepare minutes with sufficient detail to inform the public of the nature of the actions taken or deliberated upon by the Board. Also, the minutes must be published in the Board's official journal. (R.S. 38:3306; R.S. 43:171)

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82-04-26 (82-347)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=7283

Public body may take up matters at a regular or special meeting not on the agenda provided there was two-thirds vote, the public body specifically identifies the items to be discussed, and the public body is acting in good faith. Two-thirds vote required to discuss an item not on the agenda is an exception to be used with discretion.

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80-01-08 (80-2)
http://www.ag.state.la.us/ShowDoc.asp?DocID=4932

Voting by viva voce (R.S. 42:5(c)) signifies voting by “speech or outcry as distinguished from voting by a written or printed ballot.” Viva Voce means vote by voice; however, the underlying concept of viva voce is publicity. The electronic voting machines meet the underlying concept of Viva Voce. This method of voting is in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Open Meetings Law.

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