Dismissal of OMA Complaint regarding the ABC Board

On August 26, 2022, the Director of Open Government, Niquelle Allen, Esq. (the "Director") dismissed an Open Meetings Act (OMA) complaint against the Alcohol Beverage Control Board ("ABC Board"). The complaint concerned the ABC Board's January 26, 2022 public meeting where it held a closed session to discuss investigations. The Complaintant alleged that an owner of a licensed establishment should have been permitted to access the ABC Board's office to view the meeting, including the closed session. The complaint further alleged that the ABC Board violated the OMA by not allowing the owner of an establishment under its investigation to attend, in-person, its January 26, 2022, public body meeting held via video conference. The Director found the following, based upon the Office of Open Government's investigation:

(1) the OMA does not require a public body to provide access to its offices when conducting a virtual meeting;

(2) the ABC Board’s January 26, 2022 public meeting notice contains the required notice of intent to enter into a closed session (to discuss an ongoing investigation); and

(3) the ABC Board's discussion, of its investigation in closed session, was lawful.

Because the ABC Board's actions were legal, the Director dismissed the Complaint. The Advisory Opinion is below.

Public Body: 
Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board (ABC Board)