Though local government bodies are taking more steps than ever to close down accountability of their actions, the laws regulating government transparency in most states remain on the side of the public. Yes, they are being challenged in court, etc., but the real way we can defend them is to use them.
To become familiar with your state’s open meetings laws check with the Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press here. Click on your state and then on the menu bar to the left, scroll down about half way until you see the bold headline Open Meetings. Do not use this as a final legal authority and we’d encourage you to get your own legal review of any questionable aspects of your state’s laws on Open Meetings. Yet, as this site has been prepared by attorneys from each state it should be considered reasonably sound, from a legal standpoint.
In addition, if you want to start video recording local public meetings check on this same site under Open Meetings, on the outline look for Heading I section ( F) Recording/ broadcast of meeting. This will give you a brief legal review as to your lawful authority to record or not.
Most states permit it. To avoid any controversies the first day you show up Copperhead suggests you send the Chairman of the Board an advance letter announcing your intentions, your planned conduct, and reviewing the legal authority which authorizes your actions.
A sample letter can be found here.
Then the first day you attend their meeting arrive 20 to 30 minutes early to set up. Usually administrative staff will be setting up the final details of the meeting and you can come to some agreement with them as to where the best location is to set up your tripod and camera.
If you need more help Contact Us here.