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Executive Session question


BabbsJohnson
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Referring to page 96, line 6-9

We have a specific list of authorized topics that are defined by state law, and by law, all other topics must be dealt with in Open Session.

in regards to secrecy 

if an unauthorized topic is discussed in Executive (which would violate state law) does the text refrencedvabove still apply, that “everything that occurred” must stay secret?

If what RONR requires it what also must be adhered to, it seems one would have to break the rules of RONR in violating the secrecy in order to report a breaking of state law, if an unauthorized topic was discussed. Even the discussion of the lawbreaking occurring is not allowed in Executive, under state law.

I know state law will always supersede RONR, but does RONR “pick up” anywhere downstream of state law? I hope that’s not too confusing...

Can anyone input on this?

i want to understand this 100%

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I'm not sure how much help RONR will be with this.  I'm going to make the  assumption that the purpose of this law (and in particular the section limiting what business can be conducted in Executive Session) is to ensure there is transparency in what the organization does.  If that is the case I would suggest you look to the law maybe focusing on any section regarding how to address violations.

Our State's Freedom of Information Act has provisions on how a member of the public (or a member of the body in question) can hold the body accountable for violating the law.  It has some pretty significant civil penalties for anyone who repeatedly or intentionally violates the law.  I have no idea if your law will have teeth like this but check it out.

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3 hours ago, .oOllXllOo. said:

Referring to page 96, line 6-9

We have a specific list of authorized topics that are defined by state law, and by law, all other topics must be dealt with in Open Session.

in regards to secrecy 

if an unauthorized topic is discussed in Executive (which would violate state law) does the text refrencedvabove still apply, that “everything that occurred” must stay secret?

If what RONR requires it what also must be adhered to, it seems one would have to break the rules of RONR in violating the secrecy in order to report a breaking of state law, if an unauthorized topic was discussed. Even the discussion of the lawbreaking occurring is not allowed in Executive, under state law.

I know state law will always supersede RONR, but does RONR “pick up” anywhere downstream of state law? I hope that’s not too confusing...

Can anyone input on this?

i want to understand this 100%

If a question has been discussed in executive session which is not permitted under state law, then what happens next is a question regarding the state law, not RONR, and what the law says on this subject supersedes any conflicting rules in RONR.

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The only thing that I would note is that the violation of "applicable procedural rules prescribed by federal, stat or local law," can render the action void.  It is possible that the motion to go into executive session is void and that, therefor, that the secrecy of an executive session cannot exist, at least to the extent that it violates the law.  Whether or not this is the case, I don't know, but it is possible. 

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I think that Josh Martin and JJ are both saying about the same thing, or nearly the same thing, and I agree with them. It seems the difference in their statements is whether violating the state law by discussing something in executive session that does not qualify for an executive session negates the secrecy of the entire executive session or only as to the item improperly discussed.

Regardless, I believe this is a question of interpreting state law,  not RONR .

Edited by Richard Brown
Typographical correction
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/6/2019 at 9:31 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

If state law prohibits the discussion of a topic in executive session, it would be unusual for it not to also prescribe the punishment for violating this provision.

There is a related section to the ones that could be violated that does prescribe the punishment.

Of course it takes an individual to take the necessary actions to get that proverbial ball rolling.

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