Minnesota Open Meeting Law

MNCOGI pursued initiatives to improve Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law (OML), and also worked to curb problematic OML legislation.

In 2022, the Hennepin County Board of Directors voted to terminate the broadcasting of public comments made during the Board’s meetings. Other entities — such as the Roseville School Board — soon followed suit.  Since then, MNCOGI has worked with groups on both sides of the political aisle to return these government entities to their prior broadcasting practices, so that citizens watching government meeting broadcasts can view those meetings in their entirety.

This year, MNCOGI worked with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) to bring forward legislation (SF 4297/HF 4120) to ensure gavel-to-gavel broadcast standards when government entities choose to broadcast their open meetings.  The Senate bill received a hearing, but not the House bill.

Watch the committee hearing: Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans – March 19, 2024

Read MNCOGI’s written submission here.

MNCOGI also testified in support of SF 4132, which sought to increase penalties for non-compliance with Minnesota’s Open Meeting Law, and to strengthen related legal remedies.  The bill was heard in two Senate committees.

Watch the committee hearings:

Committee on State and Local Government and Veterans – March 19, 2024

Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety – March 22, 2024

Read MNCOGI’s written submission here.

The 2024 session also included bills that would have had a negative impact on public meeting access.  Two bills came forward (SF 4461 and HF 4413) that sought to modify the OML to remove the requirement that members of public bodies attending open meetings had to appear in publicly accessible places (subject to limited exceptions). While MNCOGI encourages the broadcasting of open meetings, it has also sought to preserve the “in person” open meeting experience that Minnesota law has required for decades.  MNCOGI opposed broad roll-backs of in-person public access to open meeting participants, and worked to draft much more narrow, alternative language.  Neither bill advanced beyond initial hearings.

Read MNCOGI’s written submission on SF 4461 here.

Watch the committee hearing on HF 4413: House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee

Read MNCOGI’s written submission on HF 4413 here.