AG: Health committees not subject to meeting law

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In recent discussions with the Open Meeting Law Advisory Committee, the attorney general’s office has stated that public bodies formed for negotiation purposes under last year’s Municipal Health Insurance Reform Act are exempt from the state’s open meeting law.

Public employee committees created pursuant to Chapter 32B, Section 19, and insurance advisory committees created by Chapter 32B, Section 3, are not public bodies subject to the law, the advisory committee was informed by the Division of Open Government.

The division points out, however, that bodies created by a municipality to negotiate with a PEC may be public bodies, though some of their discussions may be appropriate for executive session under the provision allowing for discussion of strategy with respect to collective bargaining.

Questions about the appropriate use of executive session by these bodies may be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (617) 963-2540.

The Division of Open Government also reports that there will soon be new definitions included in open meeting law regulations for “knowing” and “knowingly.” A recently completed public comment period gathered feedback on the proposed definitions, which are intended to help differentiate between intentional and unintentional violations.

Final guidelines regarding remote participation in public meetings, issued last November, have been added to the “Attorney General’s Regulations Regarding Open Meetings.”

For more information, visit www.mass.gov/ago/openmeeting.

Written by MMA Legislative Analyst Katie S. McCue