2003 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Rotenberry
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-41-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT THE OPEN MEETINGS LAW SHALL APPLY TO TELECONFERENCE AND VIDEO MEETINGS; TO AMEND SECTION 25-41-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE PARTICIPATION IN PUBLIC MEETINGS OF PUBLIC BODIES BY TELECONFERENCE OR VIDEO MEANS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO AMEND SECTION 25-41-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-41-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-41-3. For purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meaning ascribed herein, to wit:
(a) "Public body" means: (i) any executive or administrative board, commission, authority, council, department, agency, bureau or any other policy making entity, or committee thereof, of the State of Mississippi, or any political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state, whether such entity be created by statute or executive order, which is supported wholly or in part by public funds or expends public funds, and (ii) any standing, interim or special committee of the Mississippi Legislature. There shall be exempted from the provisions of this chapter the judiciary, including all jury deliberations, public and private hospital staffs, public and private hospital boards and committees thereof, law enforcement officials, the military, the State Probation and Parole Board, the Workers' Compensation Commission, legislative subcommittees and legislative conference committees, the arbitration council established in Section 69-3-19 and license revocation, suspension and disciplinary proceedings held by the Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners.
(b) "Meeting" means an assemblage of members of a public body at which official acts may be taken upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power; "meeting" also means any such assemblage through the use of video or teleconference devices.
SECTION 2. Section 25-41-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-41-5. (1) All official meetings of any public body, unless otherwise provided in this chapter or in the Constitutions of the United States of America or the State of Mississippi, are declared to be public meetings and shall be open to the public at all times unless declared an executive session as provided in Section 25-41-7.
(2) A public body may conduct any meeting, other than an executive session called pursuant to Section 25-41-7, wherein public business is discussed or transacted, through teleconference or video means. If a quorum of the public body is physically assembled at one (1) location for the purpose of conducting a meeting, additional members of the public body may participate in the meeting through teleconference or video means provided their participation is available to the general public.
(3) (a) Notice of any meetings held pursuant to subsection (2) of this section shall be provided at least thirty (30) days in advance of the date scheduled for the meeting. The notice shall include the date, time, place and purpose for the meeting and shall identify the locations for the meeting. All locations for the meeting shall be made accessible to the public. All persons attending the meeting at any of the meeting locations shall be afforded the same opportunity to address the public body as persons attending the primary or central location. Any interruption in the teleconference or video broadcast of the meeting shall result in the suspension of action at the meeting until repairs are made and public access restored.
(b) Thirty-day notice shall not be required for teleconference or video meetings continued to address an emergency as provided in subsection (5) of this section or to conclude the agenda of a teleconference or video meeting of the public body for which the proper notice has been given, when the date, time, place and purpose of the continued meeting are set during the meeting prior to adjournment.
(4) An agenda and materials that will be distributed to members of the public body and that have been made available to the staff of the public body in sufficient time for duplication and forwarding to all locations where public access will be provided shall be made available to the public at the time of the meeting. Minutes of all meetings held by teleconference or video means shall be recorded as required by Section 25-41-11. Votes taken during any meeting conducted through teleconference or video means shall be recorded by name in roll-call fashion and included in the minutes. In addition, the public body shall make an audio recording of the meeting, if a teleconference medium is used, or an audio/visual recording, if the meeting is held by video means. The recording shall be preserved by the public body for a period of three (3) years following the date of the meeting and shall be available to the public.
(5) A public body may meet by teleconference or video means as often as needed if an emergency exists and the public body is unable to meet in regular session. Public bodies conducting emergency meetings through teleconference or video means shall comply with the provisions of subsection (4) of this section requiring minutes, recordation and preservation of the audio or audio/visual recording of the meeting. The nature of the emergency shall be stated in the minutes.
SECTION 3. Section 25-41-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-41-11. (1) Minutes shall be kept of all meetings of a public body, whether in open or executive session, showing the members present and absent; the date, time and place of the meeting; an accurate recording of any final actions taken at such meeting; and a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and any other information that the public body requests be included or reflected in the minutes. The minutes shall be recorded within a reasonable time not to exceed thirty (30) days after recess or adjournment and shall be open to public inspection during regular business hours.
(2) Minutes of a meeting conducted by teleconference or video means shall comply with the requirements of Section 25-41-5.
(3) Minutes of legislative committee meetings shall consist of a written record of attendance and final actions taken at such meetings.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.