What about public comment, public participation, and public hearings?
"The Open Meeting Law does not require that public bodies allow public comment or public participation during meetings -- to the contrary, the Open Meeting Law specifies that nobody shall address the public body without permission of the chair. However, the Attorney General encourages public bodies to allow public comment and/or public participation when feasible.
Because the Open Meeting Law does not require that public bodies allow for public comment or public participation during meetings at all, the manner that public bodies may choose to accept comment or questions is outside the scope of the Open Meeting Law.
Public hearings, on the other hand, are governed by separate laws that impose additional requirements, and may require opportunity for public comment or testimony. Those requirements are outside the scope of the Open Meeting Law and therefore do not fall within the Division of Open Government’s jurisdiction. Public bodies and members of the public should consult with legal counsel for guidance on the requirements for public hearings. "
MA Open Meeting Law Updated Guidance
Are Special Education Parent Advisory Council (“SEPAC”) groups public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law?
"While a SEPAC itself is generally not a public body subject to the Open MeetingLaw, the leadership group may be a public body subject to the Open MeetingLaw. Massachusetts law requires that membership in a school’s SEPAC beoffered to all parents of children with disabilities and other interested parties. SeeG.L. c. 71B, § 3. In many cases, the SEPAC establishes or elects a leadership orgoverning committee. That group of elected or appointed officers will likelyconstitute a public body under the Open Meeting Law, and it is thereforeadvisable that such groups comply with the Open Meeting Law’s requirements.
Now that the issue has been formally presented to this office, and after review and analysis of the applicable statutes and regulations pertaining to the establishment of SEPACs as well as the structure and function of SEPACs, we conclude that the Brockton, Brookline, and Melrose SEPACs are not public bodies subject to the Open Meeting Law. We also conclude that whether a SEPAC’s leadership group is a public body depends on the structure and role of that group. We find that the officers of the Melrose and Brockton SEPACs do not constitute public bodies;and that the Board of the Brookline SEPAC is a public body for limited purposes."
Learn about the Open Meeting Law or report a violation with the Attorney General's Division of Open Government. https://www.mass.gov/the-open-meeting-law
|Learn about the MA Open Meeting Law or report a violation with the Attorney General's Division of Open Government|