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Massachusetts Law About Open Meetings

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

940 CMR 29 Open Meeting Law Regulations


Open Meeting Law Complaint Form, Mass. Attorney General

Selected Case Law

District Attorney for the Northern District v. Wayland School Committee, 455 Mass. 561 (2009). "Prior to conducting an open meeting, the school committee commenced a private e-mail exchange in order to deliberate the superintendent's professional competence. This violated the letter and spirit of the open meeting law. Governmental bodies may not circumvent the requirements of the open meeting law by conducting deliberations via private messages, whether electronically, in person, over the telephone, or in any other form."

District Attorney for the Plymouth District v. Board of Selectmen of Middleborough, 395 Mass. 629 (1985) The Board could not hold executive sessions for purposes other than those enumerated in MGL chapter 39, sec. 29B.

Other Web Sources

AG Coakley Announces Finalization of New Open Meeting Law Regulations, August 22, 2012. "One Regulation Clarifies Rules about Restrictions on Remote Participation, Other Regulation Amends the Definition of “Intentional Violation”". Provides important information on changes in open meeting regulations.

Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Guide, 2013, Mass. Attorney General. Detailed coverage of every aspect of the open meeting law, "written for the ease of every-day users for whom the provisions of the OML are important."

Guidelines on the Public's Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records, Mass. Supreme Judicial Court. Developed "to assist you in identifying relevant court rules, statutes and case law covering a variety of issues which relate to judicial proceedings."

Newsgathering in Massachusetts, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, May 2013. Covers open meetings, public records law, access to courts and court records, recording public officials and more, with extensive footnotes to primary law sources.New!

The Open Meeting Law, Mass. Attorney General. The starting place for the large collection of resources from the attorney general, including the law, regulations, documents, complaint form and more.

Open Meeting Law Determinations, Mass. Attorney General, August 2010-date. " The determination letters are intended to be a resource and provide helpful guidance on the requirements of the Open Meeting Law."

Open Meeting Law Video Training, Mass. Attorney General. "This presentation has been recorded by the Attorney General's Division of Open Government to serve as a resource to members of the public and public bodies seeking to understand the requirements of the Open Meeting Law. The presentation is divided up into six videos, and is current as of March 1, 2012. The run time for all six videos together is about one hour. You may view the six videos in succession to cover the entire presentation, or you may select specific videos on topics of interest."

Public body checklists, Mass. Attorney General, include entering into executive session, posting a meeting notice, and creating & approving minutes of meetings.

Print Sources

Massachusetts Practice, vol. 18 (Municipal Law) West Group, 2006 with supplement, chapter 8; vol. 39 (Administrative Law and Practice) West Group, 1986 with supplement, chapters 16 and 18.

"Validity, Construction and Application of Statutes Making Public Proceedings Open to the Public," 38 ALR3d 1070.