A little over two years ago, I wrote about an amendment to New York’s Open Meetings Law requiring prior disclosure of documents scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of a public body. As of February 2, 2012, the Open Meetings Law requires public bodies to make certain documents–including agendas as well as any other document scheduled to be discussed at a public meeting–available before or during the meeting when they will be discussed.
Documents, such as proposed resolutions, laws, rules, regulations, policies or any amendments thereto that are scheduled to be discussed during an open session of a public meeting, should be made available upon request “to the extent practicable as determined by the agency or department” prior to or at the meeting during which the records will be discussed. For more information about the requirements imposed by this amendment, please see my earlier article here.
I’ve had this issue come up several times in the last month or so, and wanted to be sure that my municipal clients are aware of this relatively new requirement. Failure to comply with this or any other requirement of the Open Meetings Law could result in a court voiding any action taken, and the public body may be required to pay attorney’s fees and attend a training session on the requirements of the Open Meetings Law sponsored by the Committee on Open Government.