Nebraska Revised Statute 84-1409
For purposes of the Open Meetings Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1)(a) Public body means (i) governing bodies of all political subdivisions of the State of Nebraska, (ii) governing bodies of all agencies, created by the Constitution of Nebraska, statute, or otherwise pursuant to law, of the executive department of the State of Nebraska, (iii) all independent boards, commissions, bureaus, committees, councils, subunits, or any other bodies created by the Constitution of Nebraska, statute, or otherwise pursuant to law, (iv) all study or advisory committees of the executive department of the State of Nebraska whether having continuing existence or appointed as special committees with limited existence, (v) advisory committees of the bodies referred to in subdivisions (i), (ii), and (iii) of this subdivision, and (vi) instrumentalities exercising essentially public functions; and
(b) Public body does not include (i) subcommittees of such bodies unless a quorum of the public body attends a subcommittee meeting or unless such subcommittees are holding hearings, making policy, or taking formal action on behalf of their parent body, except that all meetings of any subcommittee established under section 81-15,175 are subject to the Open Meetings Act, and (ii) entities conducting judicial proceedings unless a court or other judicial body is exercising rulemaking authority, deliberating, or deciding upon the issuance of administrative orders;
(2) Meeting means all regular, special, or called meetings, formal or informal, of any public body for the purposes of briefing, discussion of public business, formation of tentative policy, or the taking of any action of the public body; and
(3) Virtual conferencing means conducting or participating in a meeting electronically or telephonically with interaction among the participants subject to subsection (2) of section 84-1412.
- Laws 1975, LB 325, § 2;
- Laws 1983, LB 43, § 1;
- Laws 1989, LB 429, § 42;
- Laws 1989, LB 311, § 14;
- Laws 1992, LB 1019, § 124;
- Laws 1993, LB 635, § 1;
- Laws 1996, LB 1044, § 978;
- Laws 1997, LB 798, § 37;
- Laws 2004, LB 821, § 36;
- Laws 2007, LB296, § 810;
- Laws 2011, LB366, § 2;
- Laws 2021, LB83, § 11.
- Effective Date: April 22, 2021
A township is a political subdivision, and as such, a township board is subject to the provisions of the public meetings laws. Steenblock v. Elkhorn Township Bd., 245 Neb. 722, 515 N.W.2d 128 (1994).
A county agricultural society is a public body to which the provisions of the Nebraska public meetings law are applicable. Nixon v. Madison Co. Ag. Soc'y, 217 Neb. 37, 348 N.W.2d 119 (1984).
Failure by a public governing body, as defined under section 84-1409, R.R.S.1943, to take and record a roll call vote on an action, as required by section 84-1413(2), R.S.Supp.,1980, grants any citizen the right to sue for the purpose of having the action declared void. In this case such failure could not be later corrected by a nunc pro tunc order because there was no showing that a roll call vote on the disputed action was actually taken, and even if it was the record showed it was not recorded until over a year later. Sections 23-1301, R.R.S.1943, and 23-1302, R.R.S.1943, make it the duty of the county clerk to record proceedings of the board of county commissioners. State ex rel. Schuler v. Dunbar, 208 Neb. 69, 302 N.W.2d 674 (1981).
Although a committee was a subcommittee of a natural resources district board, it was not subject to the Open Meetings Act because there was never a quorum of board members in attendance and the committee did not hold hearings, make policy, or take formal action on behalf of the board. Koch v. Lower Loup NRD, 27 Neb. App. 301, 931 N.W.2d 160 (2019).
Although the Open Meetings Act does not define "subcommittee," a subcommittee is generally defined as a group within a committee to which the committee may refer business. Koch v. Lower Loup NRD, 27 Neb. App. 301, 931 N.W.2d 160 (2019).
The Open Meetings Act does not require policymakers to remain ignorant of the issues they must decide until the moment the public is invited to comment on a proposed policy. By excluding nonquorum subgroups from the definition of a public body, the Legislature has balanced the public's need to be heard on matters of public policy with a practical accommodation for a public body's need for information to conduct business. Koch v. Lower Loup NRD, 27 Neb. App. 301, 931 N.W.2d 160 (2019).
As an administrative agency of the county, a county board of equalization is a public body. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W.2d 499 (2009).
The electors of a township at their annual meeting are a public body under the Open Meetings Act. State ex rel. Newman v. Columbus Township Bd., 15 Neb. App. 656, 735 N.W.2d 399 (2007).
The meeting at issue in this case was a "meeting" within the parameters of subsection (2) of this section because it involved the discussion of public business, the formation of tentative policy, or the taking of any action of the public power district. Hansmeyer v. Nebraska Pub. Power Dist., 6 Neb. App. 889, 578 N.W.2d 476 (1998).
Informational sessions in which the governmental body hears reports are briefings. Johnson v. Nebraska Environmental Control Council, 2 Neb. App. 263, 509 N.W.2d 21 (1993).