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Closing a Meeting

With limited exceptions, the Open Meeting Law (Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 13D) says that all meetings of public bodies in Minnesota must be open to the public. The Open Meeting Law also describes when a public body is required or permitted to close a meeting.

Legal Requirements

When a public body closes a meeting, it must explain what legal authority it has to close the meeting, and describe what it will discuss at the closed meeting (Minnesota Statutes, section 13D.01, subdivision 3). In other words, a public body must do three things:

  • Make a statement on the record.
  • Give the specific statutory section that requires or permits the meeting to be closed, or identify in some way the statutory authority requiring or permitting a closed meeting.
  • Specifically describe what will be discussed at the closed meeting, which requires more than just identifying possible discussion issues.

Meeting the Legal Requirements

Below are four sample statements to close a meeting. The first bullet in each sample does not meet the requirements set out in section 13D.01, subdivision 3. The second bullet suggests ways to improve the statement so it more closely meets the legal requirements. Click on the section heading to read each sample.

All closed meetings, except those closed by attorney-client privilege, must be recorded.

What meetings MUST be closed? What meetings MAY be closed?

    Meetings that discuss:

  • Alleged victims or mandated reporters of criminal sexual conduct, domestic violence, or maltreatment
  • Active criminal investigations
  • Law Enforcement officer misconduct
  • Not public education data
  • Not public health data
  • Not public medical data
  • Not public welfare/mental health data
  • An individual's medical records
  • Preliminary consideration of allegations or charges, but the meeting must be open at employee's request
  • Meetings closed as expressly authorized by statute
  • Meetings closed as permitted by the attorney-client privilege
    Meetings that discuss:
  • Labor negotiations
  • Employee performance evaluations, but the meeting must be open at employee's request
  • Certain property transactions (asking price for property, review of confidential appraisals, develop offers or counteroffers)
  • Certain security matters
Minn. Stat. § 13D.05, subd. 2 Minn. Stat. § 13D.03; 13D.05, subd. 3
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