Nebraska Revised Statute 84-1411

Chapter 84 Section 1411

84-1411.

Meetings of public body; notice; contents; when available; right to modify; duties concerning notice; videoconferencing or telephone conferencing authorized; emergency meeting without notice; appearance before public body.

(1) Each public body shall give reasonable advance publicized notice of the time and place of each meeting by a method designated by each public body and recorded in its minutes. Such notice shall be transmitted to all members of the public body and to the public. Such notice shall contain an agenda of subjects known at the time of the publicized notice or a statement that the agenda, which shall be kept continually current, shall be readily available for public inspection at the principal office of the public body during normal business hours. Agenda items shall be sufficiently descriptive to give the public reasonable notice of the matters to be considered at the meeting. Except for items of an emergency nature, the agenda shall not be altered later than (a) twenty-four hours before the scheduled commencement of the meeting or (b) forty-eight hours before the scheduled commencement of a meeting of a city council or village board scheduled outside the corporate limits of the municipality. The public body shall have the right to modify the agenda to include items of an emergency nature only at such public meeting.

(2) A meeting of a state agency, state board, state commission, state council, or state committee, of an advisory committee of any such state entity, of an organization created under the Interlocal Cooperation Act, the Joint Public Agency Act, or the Municipal Cooperative Financing Act, of the governing body of a public power district having a chartered territory of more than one county in this state, of the governing body of a public power and irrigation district having a chartered territory of more than one county in this state, of a board of an educational service unit, of the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council, of the governing body of a risk management pool or its advisory committees organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act, or of a community college board of governors may be held by means of videoconferencing or, in the case of the Judicial Resources Commission in those cases specified in section 24-1204, by telephone conference, if:

(a) Reasonable advance publicized notice is given;

(b) Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public's right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio or visual recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if videoconferencing or telephone conferencing was not used;

(c) At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the videoconference or telephone conference;

(d) At least one member of the state entity, advisory committee, board, council, or governing body is present at each site of the videoconference or telephone conference; and

(e) No more than one-half of the state entity's, advisory committee's, board's, council's, or governing body's meetings in a calendar year are held by videoconference or telephone conference.

Videoconferencing, telephone conferencing, or conferencing by other electronic communication shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in the Open Meetings Act.

(3) A meeting of a board of an educational service unit, of the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council, of the governing body of an entity formed under the Interlocal Cooperation Act, the Joint Public Agency Act, or the Municipal Cooperative Financing Act, of the governing body of a risk management pool or its advisory committees organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act, of a community college board of governors, of the governing body of a public power district, of the governing body of a public power and irrigation district, or of the Nebraska Brand Committee may be held by telephone conference call if:

(a) The territory represented by the educational service unit, member educational service units, community college board of governors, public power district, public power and irrigation district, Nebraska Brand Committee, or member public agencies of the entity or pool covers more than one county;

(b) Reasonable advance publicized notice is given which identifies each telephone conference location at which an educational service unit board member, a council member, a member of a community college board of governors, a member of the governing body of a public power district, a member of the governing body of a public power and irrigation district, a member of the Nebraska Brand Committee, or a member of the entity's or pool's governing body will be present;

(c) All telephone conference meeting sites identified in the notice are located within public buildings used by members of the educational service unit board, council, community college board of governors, governing body of the public power district, governing body of the public power and irrigation district, Nebraska Brand Committee, or entity or pool or at a place which will accommodate the anticipated audience;

(d) Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public's right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if a telephone conference call was not used;

(e) At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the telephone conference call;

(f) At least one member of the educational service unit board, council, community college board of governors, governing body of the public power district, governing body of the public power and irrigation district, Nebraska Brand Committee, or governing body of the entity or pool is present at each site of the telephone conference call identified in the public notice;

(g) The telephone conference call lasts no more than two hours; and

(h) No more than one-half of the board's, council's, governing body's, committee's, entity's, or pool's meetings in a calendar year are held by telephone conference call, except that a governing body of a risk management pool that meets at least quarterly and the advisory committees of the governing body may each hold more than one-half of its meetings by telephone conference call if the governing body's quarterly meetings are not held by telephone conference call or videoconferencing.

Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the participation of consultants, members of the press, and other nonmembers of the governing body at sites not identified in the public notice. Telephone conference calls, emails, faxes, or other electronic communication shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in the Open Meetings Act.

(4) The secretary or other designee of each public body shall maintain a list of the news media requesting notification of meetings and shall make reasonable efforts to provide advance notification to them of the time and place of each meeting and the subjects to be discussed at that meeting.

(5) When it is necessary to hold an emergency meeting without reasonable advance public notice, the nature of the emergency shall be stated in the minutes and any formal action taken in such meeting shall pertain only to the emergency. Such emergency meetings may be held by means of electronic or telecommunication equipment. The provisions of subsection (4) of this section shall be complied with in conducting emergency meetings. Complete minutes of such emergency meetings specifying the nature of the emergency and any formal action taken at the meeting shall be made available to the public by no later than the end of the next regular business day.

(6) A public body may allow a member of the public or any other witness other than a member of the public body to appear before the public body by means of video or telecommunications equipment.

Cross References

  • Intergovernmental Risk Management Act, see section 44-4301.
  • Interlocal Cooperation Act, see section 13-801.
  • Joint Public Agency Act, see section 13-2501.
  • Municipal Cooperative Financing Act, see section 18-2401.

Annotations

  • Under subsection (1) of this section, the Legislature has imposed only two conditions on the public body's notification method of a public meeting: (1) It must give reasonable advance publicized notice of the time and place of each meeting and (2) it must be recorded in the public body's minutes. City of Elkhorn v. City of Omaha, 272 Neb. 867, 725 N.W.2d 792 (2007).

  • An emergency is "(a)ny event or occasional combination of circumstances which calls for immediate action or remedy; pressing necessity; exigency; a sudden or unexpected happening; an unforeseen occurrence or condition." Steenblock v. Elkhorn Township Bd., 245 Neb. 722, 515 N.W.2d 128 (1994).

  • An agenda which gives reasonable notice of the matters to be considered at a meeting of a city council complies with the requirements of this section. Pokorny v. City of Schuyler, 202 Neb. 334, 275 N.W.2d 281 (1979).

  • When notice is required, a notice of a special meeting of a city council posted in three public places at 10:00 p.m. on the day preceding the meeting is not reasonable advance publicized notice of a meeting as is required by this section. Pokorny v. City of Schuyler, 202 Neb. 334, 275 N.W.2d 281 (1979).

  • Teacher waived right to object to lack of public notice in board of education employment hearing by voluntary participation in the hearing without objection. Alexander v. School Dist. No. 17, 197 Neb. 251, 248 N.W.2d 335 (1976).

  • A county board of commissioners and a county board of equalization are not required to give separate notices when the notice states only the time and place that the boards meet and directs a citizen to where the agendas for each board can be found. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W.2d 499 (2009).

  • A county board of equalization is a public body which is required to give advanced publicized notice of its meetings. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W.2d 499 (2009).

  • Notice of recessed and reconvened meetings must be given in the same fashion as the original meeting. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W.2d 499 (2009).

  • True notice of a meeting is not given by burying such in the minutes of a prior board proceeding. Wolf v. Grubbs, 17 Neb. App. 292, 759 N.W.2d 499 (2009).

  • An agenda notice which merely stated "work order reports" was an inadequate notice under this section because it did not give interested persons knowledge that plans for a 345 kv transmission line through the district was going to be discussed and voted upon at the meeting. Inadequate agenda notice under this section meant there was a substantial violation of the public meeting laws; however, later actions by the board of directors cured the defects in notice, and such actions were in substantial compliance with the statute. Hansmeyer v. Nebraska Pub. Power Dist., 6 Neb. App. 889, 578 N.W.2d 476 (1998).