What are the Open Meeting Laws?

The Open Meeting Laws are set of laws created for the people not the government. They were created based on the constitution. The principles of democracy. The Right to Know, Transparency, The Right to Speak openly at meetings. Freedom of the press.

Many of these principles have been suppressed by small government leaders and the Federal and state Government have responded by creating these laws to restore our democratic principles which they feel has eroded by the actions of small government leaders in particular select boards and committees. This section of our website devoted to learning what the laws are and how they promote a better government for towns and cities.

On this page are several excellent references to the Open Meeting Laws. Some of them are easier to understand and more condensed and some are the actual statues which are very specific.

The Open Meeting Law is a Federal that each state is required to have. Each state can make minor variations to the law but it basically the same throughout the country. The minor changes are usually things like how many days must a select board wait before they respond to a complaint etc.

This page isl about Vermont ‘s laws, Other states in country could use this information but best to check for the finer details from the Secretary of State in the state you reside.

There are few great references to the Open Meeting Laws of Vermont. I guess I will start with the pocket guide “A GUIDE TO OPEN MEETINGS” This is presented by James Condos, Vermont Secretary of State Revised Edition 2014. This is only 5 pages long and covers all of the basics. Anyone involved in a committee or any one who attends meetings should go through this to insure you are getting he most from your local government.

So you are seeing the laws? Understanding them is where it can get confusing. It is funny that the laws at first seem very benign. I will tell they are nothing but after you realize the implications. I will share some of what I have learned but not before you understand the basics will you understand.

This reference is the real deal. It is from Legislature of Vermont , the statutes online. The statutes are from 310 – 314. There are links to each individually below for convenience,

The Statues..

§ 310. Definitions

§ 311. Declaration of public policy; short title

§ 312. Right to attend meetings of public agencies

§ 313. Executive sessions

§ 314. Penalty and enforcement