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Ohio Supreme Court issues landmark Open Meetings decision — email deliberations are equally covered by the statute

May 7, 2016

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a landmark decision on Ohio’s Open Meetings law, O.R.C. Section 121.22 in the case of White v. King.

Ohio’s Open Meetings law prohibits closed-door deliberations of public business when a majority of the public body is present, subject to host of exceptions.  But the question was confronted in the King case of whether deliberations via email among that same majority of public officials is also prohibited.

The King case strongly answered that question in the affirmative:

serial e-mail communications by a majority of board members regarding a response to public criticism of the board may constitute a private, prearranged discussion of public business in violation of R.C. 121.22 if they meet the requirements of the statute.

The decision is linked here.