House Discusses Open Meetings Act Changes

Posted on February 20, 2014 by sharkins

Earlier this week the House Oversight Committee heard testimony on House Bills 5193 and 5194, bills that amend the Open Meetings Act (OMA) as well as general testimony on changes to the OMA.

House Bill 5193 prohibits a local unit from going into closed session in connection with anticipated litigation. House Bill 5194 indicates that if a public body reenacts a disputed decision in cases where an action has been initiated to invalidate a decision of a public body then that reenactment is not a defense to a criminal action.

The League testified in opposition to the legislation. In particular the changes to HB 5193 are confusing and unnecessary. We further indicated a desire to amend the statute to allow reasonable (as opposed to actual) attorney fees and to allow the discussion of the sale of property (in addition to purchase and lease of property) in closed session. I was joined by Lori Grigg-Bluhm, Troy City Attorney and President of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys, to discuss these changes.

The committee did not vote on the legislation.

Samantha Harkins is the Director of State Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at [email protected]

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