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Open Meeting Laws

Vermont’s Open Meeting Law 1 V.S.A. §§ 310 -314. Requires all meetings of public bodies to be open to the public unless a specific exception applies. In order to make a meeting open to the public, the public body must: ✓ Provide advance public notice of meetings, including meeting agendas. ✓ Discuss all business and take all actions in open meeting, unless an exception applies. ✓ Allow members of the public to attend and participate in meetings. ✓ Take meeting minutes and make them available to the public. For More Info 

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Open Meeting Law Violation Procedure

If you think that an open meeting law violation has occurred, the first step is to submit a written notice to the public body, alleging a specific violation and requesting a specific cure. Upon receipt of this written notice, the public body must respond publicly within 10 calendar days, either by acknowledging the violation and stating its intent to cure it or by stating its determination that no violation occurred and so no cure is necessary. Failure to publicly respond is treated as a denial of the violation. 1 V.S.A. § 314(b)(1)–(3). If the public body acknowledges a violation of the open meeting law, it must cure the violation within 14 calendar days. First, the public body must either ratify, or declare as void, any action that was taken at or resulted from: 1) a meeting that was improperly noticed under 1 V.S.A. § 312(c) (public announcement and posting of regular, special, and emergency meetings); 2) a meeting that a person or the public was wrongfully excluded from attending; or 3) an executive session, or a portion of an executive session, that was not authorized by 1 V.S.A. § 313(a)(1)– (10). Second, the public body must adopt specific measures that actually prevent future violations. 1 V.S.A. § 314(b)(4). If the public body denies the violation or fails to cure an acknowledged violation in a timely manner, you can file suit against the public body in the Civil Division of the Superior Court in the county where the alleged violation took place. The suit must be brought within one year after the meeting at which the violation occurred or to which the violation relates. The court will then decide whether a violation occurred, whether a declaratory judgment or injunctive relief is appropriate, and whether circumstances require the public body to pay attorney’s fees and litigation costs. 1 V.S.A. § 314(c), (d).


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