Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency
IC 5-14-1.5
     Chapter 1.5. Public Meetings (Open Door Law)

IC 5-14-1.5-1
Purpose
    
Sec. 1. In enacting this chapter, the general assembly finds and declares that this state and its political subdivisions exist only to aid in the conduct of the business of the people of this state. It is the intent of this chapter that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, in order that the people may be fully informed. The purposes of this chapter are remedial, and its provisions are to be liberally construed with the view of carrying out its policy.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.67-1987, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-2
Definitions
    
Sec. 2. For the purposes of this chapter:
    (a) "Public agency" means the following:
        (1) Any board, commission, department, agency, authority, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising a portion of the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state.
        (2) Any county, township, school corporation, city, town, political subdivision, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising in a limited geographical area the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state or a delegated local governmental power.
        (3) Any entity which is subject to either:
            (A) budget review by either the department of local government finance or the governing body of a county, city, town, township, or school corporation; or
            (B) audit by the state board of accounts.
        (4) Any building corporation of a political subdivision of the state of Indiana that issues bonds for the purpose of constructing public facilities.
        (5) Any advisory commission, committee, or body created by statute, ordinance, or executive order to advise the governing body of a public agency, except medical staffs or the committees of any such staff.
        (6) The Indiana gaming commission established by IC 4-33, including any department, division, or office of the commission.
        (7) The Indiana horse racing commission established by IC 4-31, including any department, division, or office of the commission.
    (b) "Governing body" means two (2) or more individuals who are:
        (1) a public agency that:
            (A) is a board, a commission, an authority, a council, a committee, a body, or other entity; and


            (B) takes official action on public business;
        (2) the board, commission, council, or other body of a public agency which takes official action upon public business; or
        (3) any committee appointed directly by the governing body or its presiding officer to which authority to take official action upon public business has been delegated. An agent or agents appointed by the governing body to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the governing body does not constitute a governing body for purposes of this chapter.
    (c) "Meeting" means a gathering of a majority of the governing body of a public agency for the purpose of taking official action upon public business. It does not include:
        (1) any social or chance gathering not intended to avoid this chapter;
        (2) any on-site inspection of any project or program;
        (3) traveling to and attending meetings of organizations devoted to betterment of government; or
        (4) a caucus.
    (d) "Official action" means to:
        (1) receive information;
        (2) deliberate;
        (3) make recommendations;
        (4) establish policy;
        (5) make decisions; or
        (6) take final action.
    (e) "Public business" means any function upon which the public agency is empowered or authorized to take official action.
    (f) "Executive session" means a meeting from which the public is excluded, except the governing body may admit those persons necessary to carry out its purpose.
    (g) "Final action" means a vote by the governing body on any motion, proposal, resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance, or order.
    (h) "Caucus" means a gathering of members of a political party or coalition which is held for purposes of planning political strategy and holding discussions designed to prepare the members for taking official action.
    (i) "Deliberate" means a discussion which may reasonably be expected to result in official action (defined under subsection (d)(3), (d)(4), (d)(5), or (d)(6)).
    (j) "News media" means all newspapers qualified to receive legal advertisements under IC 5-3-1, all news services (as defined in IC 34-6-2-87), and all licensed commercial or public radio or television stations.
    (k) "Person" means an individual, a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, an unincorporated association, or a governmental entity.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.1; P.L.33-1984, SEC.1; P.L.67-1987, SEC.2; P.L.8-1993, SEC.56; P.L.277-1993(ss), SEC.127; P.L.1-1994, SEC.20; P.L.50-1995, SEC.14; P.L.1-1998, SEC.71; P.L.90-2002,

SEC.16; P.L.35-2003, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-3
Open meetings; secret ballot votes
    
Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in section 6.1 of this chapter, all meetings of the governing bodies of public agencies must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them.
    (b) A secret ballot vote may not be taken at a meeting.
    (c) A meeting conducted in compliance with IC 5-1.5-2-2.5 does not violate this section.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.38-1988, SEC.6; P.L.1-1991, SEC.35.

IC 5-14-1.5-4
Posting agenda; memoranda of meetings; public inspection of minutes
    
Sec. 4. (a) A governing body of a public agency utilizing an agenda shall post a copy of the agenda at the entrance to the location of the meeting prior to the meeting. A rule, regulation, ordinance, or other final action adopted by reference to agenda number or item alone is void.
    (b) As the meeting progresses, the following memoranda shall be kept:
        (1) The date, time, and place of the meeting.
        (2) The members of the governing body recorded as either present or absent.
        (3) The general substance of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided.
        (4) A record of all votes taken, by individual members if there is a roll call.
        (5) Any additional information required under IC 5-1.5-2-2.5 or IC 20-12-63-7.
    (c) The memoranda are to be available within a reasonable period of time after the meeting for the purpose of informing the public of the governing body's proceedings. The minutes, if any, are to be open for public inspection and copying.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.38-1988, SEC.7; P.L.76-1995, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-5
Public notice of meetings
    
Sec. 5. (a) Public notice of the date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions, or of any rescheduled or reconvened meeting, shall be given at least forty-eight (48) hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) before the meeting. This requirement does not apply to reconvened meetings (not including executive sessions) where announcement of the date, time, and place of the reconvened meeting is made at the original meeting and recorded in the memoranda and minutes thereof, and there is no

change in the agenda.
    (b) Public notice shall be given by the governing body of a public agency by:
        (1) posting a copy of the notice at the principal office of the public agency holding the meeting or, if no such office exists, at the building where the meeting is to be held; and
        (2) delivering notice to all news media which deliver by January 1 an annual written request for such notices for the next succeeding calendar year to the governing body of the public agency. The governing body shall give notice by one (1) of the following methods:
            (A) Depositing the notice in the United States mail with postage prepaid.
            (B) Transmitting the notice by electronic mail.
            (C) Transmitting the notice by facsimile (fax).
        If a governing body comes into existence after January 1, it shall comply with this subdivision upon receipt of a written request for notice.
In addition, a state agency (as defined in IC 4-13-1-1) shall provide electronic access to the notice through the computer gateway administered by the office of technology established by IC 4-13.1-2-1.
    (c) Notice of regular meetings need be given only once each year, except that an additional notice shall be given where the date, time, or place of a regular meeting or meetings is changed. This subsection does not apply to executive sessions.
    (d) If a meeting is called to deal with an emergency involving actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of the governmental activity under the jurisdiction of the public agency by any event, then the time requirements of notice under this section shall not apply, but:
        (1) news media which have requested notice of meetings must be given the same notice as is given to the members of the governing body; and
        (2) the public must be notified by posting a copy of the notice according to this section.
    (e) This section shall not apply where notice by publication is required by statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation.
    (f) This section shall not apply to:
        (1) the department of local government finance, the Indiana board of tax review, or any other governing body which meets in continuous session, except that this section applies to meetings of these governing bodies which are required by or held pursuant to statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation; or
        (2) the executive of a county or the legislative body of a town if the meetings are held solely to receive information or recommendations in order to carry out administrative functions, to carry out administrative functions, or confer with staff members on matters relating to the internal management of the unit. "Administrative functions" do not include the awarding of

contracts, the entering into contracts, or any other action creating an obligation or otherwise binding a county or town.
    (g) This section does not apply to the general assembly.
    (h) Notice has not been given in accordance with this section if a governing body of a public agency convenes a meeting at a time so unreasonably departing from the time stated in its public notice that the public is misled or substantially deprived of the opportunity to attend, observe, and record the meeting.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.2; P.L.67-1987, SEC.3; P.L.8-1989, SEC.22; P.L.3-1989, SEC.29; P.L.46-1990, SEC.1; P.L.251-1999, SEC.4; P.L.90-2002, SEC.17; P.L.200-2003, SEC.1; P.L.177-2005, SEC.14.

IC 5-14-1.5-6 Repealed
    
(Repealed by P.L.1-1991, SEC.36 and P.L.10-1991, SEC.10.)

IC 5-14-1.5-6.1 Version a
Executive sessions
    
Note: This version of section effective until 7-1-2005. See also following version of this section, effective 7-1-2005.
    Sec. 6.1. (a) As used in this section, "public official" means a person:
        (1) who is a member of a governing body of a public agency; or
        (2) whose tenure and compensation are fixed by law and who executes an oath.
    (b) Executive sessions may be held only in the following instances:
        (1) Where authorized by federal or state statute.
        (2) For discussion of strategy with respect to any of the following:
            (A) Collective bargaining.
            (B) Initiation of litigation or litigation that is either pending or has been threatened specifically in writing.
            (C) The implementation of security systems.
            (D) The purchase or lease of real property by the governing body up to the time a contract or option to purchase or lease is executed by the parties.
        However, all such strategy discussions must be necessary for competitive or bargaining reasons and may not include competitive or bargaining adversaries.
        (3) For discussion of the assessment, design, and implementation of school safety and security measures, plans, and systems.
        (4) Interviews with industrial or commercial prospects or agents of industrial or commercial prospects by the Indiana economic development corporation, the Indiana development finance authority, or economic development commissions.
        (5) To receive information about and interview prospective employees.
        (6) With respect to any individual over whom the governing

body has jurisdiction:
            (A) to receive information concerning the individual's alleged misconduct; and
            (B) to discuss, before a determination, the individual's status as an employee, a student, or an independent contractor who is:
                (i) a physician; or
                (ii) a school bus driver.
        (7) For discussion of records classified as confidential by state or federal statute.
        (8) To discuss before a placement decision an individual student's abilities, past performance, behavior, and needs.
        (9) To discuss a job performance evaluation of individual employees. This subdivision does not apply to a discussion of the salary, compensation, or benefits of employees during a budget process.
        (10) When considering the appointment of a public official, to do the following:
            (A) Develop a list of prospective appointees.
            (B) Consider applications.
            (C) Make one (1) initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration.
        Notwithstanding IC 5-14-3-4(b)(12), a governing body may release and shall make available for inspection and copying in accordance with IC 5-14-3-3 identifying information concerning prospective appointees not initially excluded from further consideration. An initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration may not reduce the number of prospective appointees to fewer than three (3) unless there are fewer than three (3) prospective appointees. Interviews of prospective appointees must be conducted at a meeting that is open to the public.
        (11) To train school board members with an outside consultant about the performance of the role of the members as public officials.
        (12) To prepare or score examinations used in issuing licenses, certificates, permits, or registrations under IC 15-5-1.1 or IC 25.
    (c) A final action must be taken at a meeting open to the public.
    (d) Public notice of executive sessions must state the subject matter by specific reference to the enumerated instance or instances for which executive sessions may be held under subsection (b). The requirements stated in section 4 of this chapter for memoranda and minutes being made available to the public is modified as to executive sessions in that the memoranda and minutes must identify the subject matter considered by specific reference to the enumerated instance or instances for which public notice was given. The governing body shall certify by a statement in the memoranda and minutes of the governing body that no subject matter was discussed in the executive session other than the subject matter specified in the public notice.


    (e) A governing body may not conduct an executive session during a meeting, except as otherwise permitted by applicable statute. A meeting may not be recessed and reconvened with the intent of circumventing this subsection.
As added by P.L.1-1991, SEC.37 and P.L.10-1991, SEC.8. Amended by P.L.48-1991, SEC.1; P.L.37-2000, SEC.1; P.L.200-2003, SEC.2; P.L.4-2005, SEC.28.

IC 5-14-1.5-6.1 Version b
Executive sessions
    
Note: This version of section effective 7-1-2005. See also preceding version of this section, effective until 7-1-2005.
    Sec. 6.1. (a) As used in this section, "public official" means a person:
        (1) who is a member of a governing body of a public agency; or
        (2) whose tenure and compensation are fixed by law and who executes an oath.
    (b) Executive sessions may be held only in the following instances:
        (1) Where authorized by federal or state statute.
        (2) For discussion of strategy with respect to any of the following:
            (A) Collective bargaining.
            (B) Initiation of litigation or litigation that is either pending or has been threatened specifically in writing.
            (C) The implementation of security systems.
            (D) The purchase or lease of real property by the governing body up to the time a contract or option to purchase or lease is executed by the parties.
        However, all such strategy discussions must be necessary for competitive or bargaining reasons and may not include competitive or bargaining adversaries.
        (3) For discussion of the assessment, design, and implementation of school safety and security measures, plans, and systems.
        (4) Interviews with industrial or commercial prospects or agents of industrial or commercial prospects by the Indiana economic development corporation, the office of tourism development, the Indiana finance authority, or economic development commissions.
        (5) To receive information about and interview prospective employees.
        (6) With respect to any individual over whom the governing body has jurisdiction:
            (A) to receive information concerning the individual's alleged misconduct; and
            (B) to discuss, before a determination, the individual's status as an employee, a student, or an independent contractor who is:
                (i) a physician; or


                (ii) a school bus driver.
        (7) For discussion of records classified as confidential by state or federal statute.
        (8) To discuss before a placement decision an individual student's abilities, past performance, behavior, and needs.
        (9) To discuss a job performance evaluation of individual employees. This subdivision does not apply to a discussion of the salary, compensation, or benefits of employees during a budget process.
        (10) When considering the appointment of a public official, to do the following:
            (A) Develop a list of prospective appointees.
            (B) Consider applications.
            (C) Make one (1) initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration.
        Notwithstanding IC 5-14-3-4(b)(12), a governing body may release and shall make available for inspection and copying in accordance with IC 5-14-3-3 identifying information concerning prospective appointees not initially excluded from further consideration. An initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration may not reduce the number of prospective appointees to fewer than three (3) unless there are fewer than three (3) prospective appointees. Interviews of prospective appointees must be conducted at a meeting that is open to the public.
        (11) To train school board members with an outside consultant about the performance of the role of the members as public officials.
        (12) To prepare or score examinations used in issuing licenses, certificates, permits, or registrations under IC 15-5-1.1 or IC 25.
    (c) A final action must be taken at a meeting open to the public.
    (d) Public notice of executive sessions must state the subject matter by specific reference to the enumerated instance or instances for which executive sessions may be held under subsection (b). The requirements stated in section 4 of this chapter for memoranda and minutes being made available to the public is modified as to executive sessions in that the memoranda and minutes must identify the subject matter considered by specific reference to the enumerated instance or instances for which public notice was given. The governing body shall certify by a statement in the memoranda and minutes of the governing body that no subject matter was discussed in the executive session other than the subject matter specified in the public notice.
    (e) A governing body may not conduct an executive session during a meeting, except as otherwise permitted by applicable statute. A meeting may not be recessed and reconvened with the intent of circumventing this subsection.
As added by P.L.1-1991, SEC.37 and P.L.10-1991, SEC.8. Amended by P.L.48-1991, SEC.1; P.L.37-2000, SEC.1; P.L.200-2003, SEC.2; P.L.4-2005, SEC.28; P.L.229-2005, SEC.2; P.L.235-2005, SEC.84.

IC 5-14-1.5-6.5
Collective bargaining meetings; applicable requirements
    
Sec. 6.5. (a) Whenever a governing body, or any person authorized to act for a governing body, meets with an employee organization, or any person authorized to act for an employee organization, for the purpose of collective bargaining or discussion, the following apply:
        (1) Any party may inform the public of the status of collective bargaining or discussion as it progresses by release of factual information and expression of opinion based upon factual information.
        (2) If a mediator is appointed, any report the mediator may file at the conclusion of mediation is a public record open to public inspection.
        (3) If a factfinder is appointed, any hearings the factfinder holds must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them. Any findings and recommendations the factfinder makes are public records open to public inspection as provided by IC 20-29-8-13 or any other applicable statute relating to factfinding in connection with public collective bargaining.
    (b) This section supplements and does not limit any other provision of this chapter.
As added by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.4. Amended by P.L.67-1987, SEC.5; P.L.1-2005, SEC.80.

IC 5-14-1.5-7
Violations; remedies; limitations; costs and fees
    
Sec. 7. (a) An action may be filed by any person in any court of competent jurisdiction to:
        (1) obtain a declaratory judgment;
        (2) enjoin continuing, threatened, or future violations of this chapter; or
        (3) declare void any policy, decision, or final action:
            (A) taken at an executive session in violation of section 3(a) of this chapter;
            (B) taken at any meeting of which notice is not given in accordance with section 5 of this chapter;
            (C) that is based in whole or in part upon official action taken at any executive session in violation of section 3(a) of this chapter or at any meeting of which notice is not given in accordance with section 5 of this chapter; or
            (D) taken at a meeting held in a location in violation of section 8 of this chapter.
The plaintiff need not allege or prove special damage different from that suffered by the public at large.
    (b) Regardless of whether a formal complaint or an informal inquiry is pending before the public access counselor, any action to declare any policy, decision, or final action of a governing body void,

or to enter an injunction which would invalidate any policy, decision, or final action of a governing body, based on violation of this chapter occurring before the action is commenced, shall be commenced:
        (1) prior to the delivery of any warrants, notes, bonds, or obligations if the relief sought would have the effect, if granted, of invalidating the notes, bonds, or obligations; or
        (2) with respect to any other subject matter, within thirty (30) days of either:
            (A) the date of the act or failure to act complained of; or
            (B) the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known that the act or failure to act complained of had occurred;
whichever is later. If the challenged policy, decision, or final action is recorded in the memoranda or minutes of a governing body, a plaintiff is considered to have known that the act or failure to act complained of had occurred not later than the date that the memoranda or minutes are first available for public inspection.
    (c) If a court finds that a governing body of a public agency has violated this chapter, it may not find that the violation was cured by the governing body by only having taken final action at a meeting that complies with this chapter.
    (d) In determining whether to declare any policy, decision, or final action void, a court shall consider the following factors among other relevant factors:
        (1) The extent to which the violation:
            (A) affected the substance of the policy, decision, or final action;
            (B) denied or impaired access to any meetings that the public had a right to observe and record; and
            (C) prevented or impaired public knowledge or understanding of the public's business.
        (2) Whether voiding of the policy, decision, or final action is a necessary prerequisite to a substantial reconsideration of the subject matter.
        (3) Whether the public interest will be served by voiding the policy, decision, or final action by determining which of the following factors outweighs the other:
            (A) The remedial benefits gained by effectuating the public policy of the state declared in section 1 of this chapter.
            (B) The prejudice likely to accrue to the public if the policy, decision, or final action is voided, including the extent to which persons have relied upon the validity of the challenged action and the effect declaring the challenged action void would have on them.
        (4) Whether the defendant acted in compliance with an informal inquiry response or advisory opinion issued by the public access counselor concerning the violation.
    (e) If a court declares a policy, decision, or final action of a governing body of a public agency void, the court may enjoin the governing body from subsequently acting upon the subject matter of the voided act until it has been given substantial reconsideration at

a meeting or meetings that comply with this chapter.
    (f) In any action filed under this section, a court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and other reasonable expenses of litigation to the prevailing party if:
        (1) the plaintiff prevails; or
        (2) the defendant prevails and the court finds that the action is frivolous and vexatious.
The plaintiff is not eligible for the awarding of attorney's fees, court costs, and other reasonable expenses if the plaintiff filed the action without first seeking and receiving an informal inquiry response or advisory opinion from the public access counselor, unless the plaintiff can show the filing of the action was necessary to prevent a violation of this chapter.
    (g) A court shall expedite the hearing of an action filed under this section.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.5; P.L.67-1987, SEC.6; P.L.38-1992, SEC.1; P.L.70-1999, SEC.1 and P.L.191-1999, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-8
Accessibility to individuals with disabilities
    
Sec. 8. (a) This section applies only to the following public agencies:
        (1) A public agency described in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter.
        (2) A public agency:
            (A) described in section 2(a)(5) of this chapter; and
            (B) created to advise the governing body of a public agency described in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter.
    (b) As used in this section, "accessible" means the design, construction, or alteration of facilities in conformance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (41 C.F.R. 101-19.6, App. A (1991)) or with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (56 Fed. Reg. 35605 (1991)).
    (c) As used in this section, "individual with a disability" means an individual who has a temporary or permanent physical disability.
    (d) A public agency may not hold a meeting at a location that is not accessible to an individual with a disability.
As added by P.L.38-1992, SEC.2.