North Dakota Open Records & Meetings Law

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North Dakota Open Records &
Meetings Law
Government in the
Sunshine
Open Records
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All records in possession of a public entity
regarding public business are OPEN
North Dakota Constitution art. XI, sec. 6
North Dakota Century Code 44-04-18
Except as otherwise provided by law…
Exempt or Confidential Records
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Exempt Records
Release of records is
left to discretion of
public entity
“Closed record” - the
part of the exempt
record that isn’t
disclosed
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Confidential Records
All or part of a record
expressly declared
confidential or
prohibited from being
open to the public
Examples
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Exempt
Personal employee
information
Address
Phone number
Payroll deduction info
Security system plan
Economic development
records 44-04-18.4(5)
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Confidential
Social security numbers
Employee medical
records
Computer passwords
Employee use of
employee assistance
program records
57-40.6-07 Use of the furnished information.
Confidential information:
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Unpublished names and telephone numbers
generated by a 911 coordinator or 911 public safety
answering point or provided to a 911 coordinator or
public safety answering point under section 57-40.606 are confidential and may be used only for
verifying the location or identity, or both, for response
purposes, of a person calling a 911 answering point
for emergency help or by the 911 coordinator or
public safety answering point for the purpose of a
public safety agency notifying a person of an
emergency.
57-40.6-07 Use of the furnished information.
Exempt information:
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Published names and telephone numbers
maintained by a 911 coordinator or public
safety answering point are exempt records
as defined in section 44-04-17.1 but must be
provided upon request to the treasurer and
auditor of the county served by the 911
coordinator for the purpose of verifying and
correcting names and addresses used for
official purposes.
57-40.6-07 Use of the furnished information.
Exempt information:
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A record obtained for the purpose of
providing services in an emergency and
which reveals the address of a person
requesting emergency service or reporting
an emergency by accessing an emergency
telephone number 911 system is exempt
from section 44-04-18 and may be redacted
from the record before it is released.
57-40.6-07
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Confidential
Unpublished names &
telephone numbers
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Exempt
Published names &
telephone numbers
Address of person
reporting an emergency
Records Generally Open
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A personnel file - job performance
evaluations and salary
Any document business related
Emails that are business related
Computer records
Physical form of the record is irrelevant
Don’t…
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Require the request in writing
Require the name of the requestor
Ask why they want the records
Compile or create a new record
Stop normal office functions to fulfill the
request
DO…
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Communicate with the requestor if they are willing
Give a legal reason for any denial of records
Provide the records within a reasonable time
Redact any confidential information
Give the requestor an estimate of how long it will
take to provide the records
Charging for copies
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First hour locating - free, thereafter $25/hour
25 ¢ per copy of a 8 x 11 or 8 x 14 page
Maps, color photos, etc. actual cost.
Actual cost of postage
First hour for redacting confidential
information - free, thereafter $25/hour
Meetings - Governing Body
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The multi-member body responsible for
making a collective decision on behalf of a
public entity.
Any time there is a quorum of a council
together, it must be a public meeting
preceded by public notice
COMMITTEES
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“Governing body” also includes any group of
persons, regardless of membership, acting
collectively pursuant to authority delegated to
that group by the governing body
Did the governing body delegate authority?
Don’t need authority to take final action
Examples of Meetings
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Governing body attending a meeting of
another group
School board retreat
On site inspection
Members talk business at a social gathering
More on meetings…
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Conference calls are meetings
Cannot straw poll
Can attend social gatherings together
Public can video or audio tape the meeting
Right to attend is not the right to speak
Room has to accommodate the public
Posting of the Notice
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At the public entity’s main office
With the appropriate central location:
city auditor, county auditor, secretary of state
At the location of the meeting
Don’t have to publish the notice
Give notice to anyone who has requested it
What should the notice say?
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Time, date, location of the meeting
Topics to be discussed
Notice of any executive session
Kinds of Meetings
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Regular
Agenda should contain
all topics known at the
time of drafting the
notice
May discuss items not
on the agenda at the
meeting
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Special meeting
Can only discuss the
items on the notice
Provide notice to the
official newspaper
Meetings
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A public entity may sequester all job competitors
from the portion of the public meeting where
interviews are conducted.
Requests for notice of meetings are good for one
year unless a different time is requested.
90 days to ask for an opinion based on allegations
that a meeting occurred without notice
30 days for an open records or other meeting
violation
Executive Sessions-Reasons
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To discuss CONFIDENTIAL information
To discuss EXEMPT information
Attorney consultation-advice from attorney re:
adversarial administrative proceedings or pending
civil/criminal litigation
Negotiation-discuss strategy or provide instructions.
Adverse fiscal effect on bargaining position
necessary
CANNOT close for PERSONNEL matters
Executive Sessions-Procedure
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Convene in an open meeting
Motion necessary for exempt info, not for
confidential info
Announce in open meeting the topics to be
discussed and the legal authority
Record the session
Topics limited to those announced
Executive Sessions-Procedure
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Final action must be taken in open meetingexcept for instructions to negotiator or legal
counsel
Minutes of open meeting must have names
of those attending the executive session;
date & time session began and ended;
general topics; legal authority
More information
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www.ag.nd.gov
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Manual - is updated - new & improved
Opinions - on website from 1997 to present
Fact sheets - on website
Brochures
N.D.C.C. § 44-04-17.1
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