Open Meetings Act
The stated goals of the Maryland Open Meetings Act are to increase the public's faith in government, ensure the accountability of government to the public, and enhance the public's ability to participate effectively in our democracy. To further those goals, the Act generally requires State and local public bodies to hold their meetings in public, give the public adequate notice of those meetings, and allow the public to inspect meetings minutes and certain other records. Although the Act permits public bodies to discuss certain topics behind closed doors, public bodies must make certain disclosures both before and after they meet in closed session. The Act applies only to the public bodies that fall within its definition of that term, and some activities are excluded from the Act. Under the Act, every public body must designate an officer, member, or employee to receive training on the Act's requirements.
The Open Meetings Law Compliance Board is an independent unit of State government composed of three members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Board has no office or budget of its own, although the Office of the Attorney General provides staff support. The Board publishes an annual report every Fall.
The Board's complaint procedures offer members of the public an alternative to going to court when they feel the Open Meetings Act has been violated. Complaints received by the Board are forwarded to the public body for its response. The Board then reviews the submissions and issues a written opinion. The Board has neither investigative nor enforcement powers. Therefore, the primary value of its opinions is to promote future compliance by educating public bodies and members of the public.
Meeting information: The Compliance Board holds its annual meeting in August or September. When necessary, the Board meets specially during the General Assembly's session to respond to legislative requests for comments on legislation. Special meetings during a session (generally, mid-January through early April) must sometimes be called on short notice. All meeting notices will be posted below. Members of the public may also sign up for e-mail notifications. Those requests should be made to OpenGov@oag.state.md.us.
Organizational meeting: September 24, 2015 at 10:30 a.m.
Annual meeting: September 24, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
Location for both meetings: 200 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. If possible, please notify OpenGov@oag.state.md.us by 4 p.m. on September 23 of your intention to come, so that we can arrange in advance for your prompt admission to the building. Otherwise, on arrival, ask the guard to call 410-576-6327.
Important note: The Board lacks the authority to address alleged violations of the Public Information Act or the open meetings laws pertaining to condominium and homeowners associations. The Maryland Condominium Act provision appears at sec.11-109.1 of the Real Property Article. The Maryland Homeowners Association Act provision appears at sec.11B-111 of the Real Property Article.