Open Meetings Act
The District of Columbia Open Meetings Act (OMA) requires that any gathering of a quorum of a public body where members consider, conduct or advise on public business offer the opportunity for the public to attend and offer input. The public must be given proper notice of such meetings and afforded the opportunity to review recordings of public meetings upon request. The Office of Open Government (OOG) is responsible for training agencies, employees, the Council of the District of Columbia and nearly than 190 boards and commissions on the requirements of the OMA. Read the entire OMA.
What are the requirements of the Open Meetings Act?
The OMA is triggered anytime there is a gathering of a quorum of a public body, including hearings, roundtables, regular, special, or emergency where members consider, conduct or advise on public business. (DC Official Code §2-574(1))
Who is excluded from the Open Meetings Act?
A public body does not include District of Columbia courts; governing bodies of public charter schools; The Mayor’s cabinet; Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC). (DC Official Code §2-574 (3)(A-F)). Private, not-profit, not-for-profit organizations are not considered public bodies as contemplated by the Open Meetings Act. (Find your ANC)
How much notice is required?
All regularly scheduled meetings must be published in the District of Columbia Register. If a public body schedules a regular or special meeting, notice must be provided 48 hours or two business days (whichever is greater) in advance of the meeting. Notice must include date, time, location and the planned agenda. View a list of all boards and commissions meetings here.
How do I file an Open Meetings Act complaint?
Complaints may be submitted in person or via U.S Postal Service at the Office of Open Government, 441 4th Street, Suite 830 South, Washington, DC 20001. Complaints submitted by mail should be marked on the outside of the envelope "Open Meetings Complaint." Complaints may also be submitted by electronic mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, with "Open Meetings Act Complaint" in the subject line of the electronic mail message. Please copy email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org on your electronic mail complaint. The Office of Open Government will confirm receipt of your complaint within five (5) business days.
Complaints should include the following: details of the meeting complained of; the public body that is the subject of your complaint; the date (or dates) the violation occurred; and, if possible, the provisions of the OMA that were allegedly violated. You may also submit supporting records and/or the location of those records, including audio and video files if applicable.
You may access the OMA complaint form here: https://www.open-dc.gov/documents/oog-forms-and-services
Note: The OOG is working on a new, secure online complaint form. In the meantime, if you would like to file an OMA complaint online, please submit it using the BEGA Ethics complaint form and note in the "Details of Complaint" section of the form that you are filing an OMA complaint. BEGA online complaint form: https://bit.ly/2wQnUrV