Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 17, 2014

Michigan's Open Meetings Act

State lawmakers created Michigan’s Open Meetings Act to strengthen citizens’ ability to know what goes on in government, according to an OMA guide published by Michigan’s attorney general.

The act states all decisions of a public body must occur at an open meeting, as must nearly all “deliberations of a public body constituting a quorum” — or the smallest number of members a public body needs to make decisions.

Public bodies are required to post a notice of any meetings they intended to hold. They must also keep minutes of all open meetings and make the minutes available for public review.

Public bodies that fail to comply with open meetings laws can face civil action from the state attorney general, a local county’s prosecuting attorney, or an individual citizen, according to the act.

Public officials can also face criminal prosecution for OMA violations. An official who intentionally violates the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

Officials convicted of a second intentional violation of the act face up to a year in prison and additional fines.

 

 

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