Reprinted - Digest Correction
February 22, 2005
SENATE BILL No. 310
DIGEST OF SB 310
(Updated February 22, 2005 1:52 pm - DI 84)
Citations Affected: IC 5-14.
Synopsis: Open door law violations. Provides that absent express
statutory authorization, a member of a governing body who is not
physically present at a meeting but communicates with board members
during the meeting by telephone, computer, videoconferencing, or any
other electronic means of communication may not participate in a final
vote taken at the meeting. Provides that a series of gatherings by the
governing body of a state or local government agency violates the open
door law if: (1) less than a quorum of members of the governing body
attend each gathering; (2) the total number of members attending all
gatherings constitutes at least a quorum of the governing body; (3) All
the gatherings concern the same subject matter and are held within a
period of not more than seven days; and (4) the gatherings are held for
the purpose of conducting official business.
Effective: July 1, 2005.
Gard, Broden, Antich-Carr, Drozda,
January 6, 2005, read first time and referred to Committee on Governmental Affairs and
February 10, 2005, amended, reported favorably _ Do Pass.
February 21, 2005, read second time, amended, ordered engrossed.
February 22, 2005, engrossed.
Reprinted - Digest Correction
February 22, 2005
First Regular Session 114th General Assembly (2005)
PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana
Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type,
additions will appear in this style type
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Additions: Whenever a new statutory provision is being enacted (or a new constitutional
provision adopted), the text of the new provision will appear in this style type
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will appear in that style type in the introductory clause of each SECTION that adds
a new provision to the Indiana Code or the Indiana Constitution.
Conflict reconciliation: Text in a statute in this style type
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between statutes enacted by the 2004 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
SENATE BILL No. 310
A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning state
and local administration.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
SOURCE: IC 5-14-1.5-3; (05)SB0310.3.1. -->
SECTION 1. IC 5-14-1.5-3 IS AMENDED TO READ AS
FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2005]: 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.
(d) Unless expressly authorized by statute, a member of a
governing body of a public agency who is not physically present at
a meeting of the governing body but communicates with the
governing body members during the meeting by telephone,
computer, videoconferencing, or any other electronic means of
communication may not:
(1) participate in final action taken at the meeting; or
(2) be considered to be present at the meeting.
(e) Subsection (d) does not apply to a governing body of a state
educational institution (as defined in IC 20-12-0.5-1) or a governing
body of a joint agency created under IC 8-1-2.2.
SOURCE: IC 5-14-1.5-3.1; (05)SB0310.3.2. -->
SECTION 2. IC 5-14-1.5-3.1 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA
CODE AS A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS
[EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2005]: Sec. 3.1. (a) A governing body violates
this chapter if the governing body participates in a series of at least
two (2) gatherings of members of the governing body that fulfill the
(1) Each gathering is attended by less than a quorum of the
members of the governing body.
(2) The sum of the members of the governing body who attend
the gatherings constitutes at least a quorum of the governing
(3) All the gatherings concern the same subject matter and
are held within a period of not more than seven (7) days.
(4) A member attends a gathering in person, by telephone, or
by other electronic means, excluding electronic mail.
(5) The gatherings are held for the purpose of taking official
action on public business.
(b) A gathering under subsection (a) does not include:
(1) a social or chance gathering not intended to avoid this
(2) an on-site inspection of any project or program;
(3) traveling to and attending meetings of organizations
devoted to betterment of government;
(4) a caucus; or
(5) a meeting between one (1) member of the governing body
and at least one (1) other individual who is not a member of
the governing body concerning public business.
(c) A violation described in subsection (a) is subject to section 7
of this chapter.
SOURCE: IC 5-14-1.5-7; (05)SB0310.3.3. -->
SECTION 3. IC 5-14-1.5-7 IS AMENDED TO READ AS
FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2005]: 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
(3) declare void any policy, decision, or final action:
(A) taken at an executive session in violation of section 3(a) of
(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
executive session in violation of section 3(a) of this
or at any
meeting of which notice is not given in accordance with
section 5 of this chapter; or
(iii) series of gatherings in violation of section 3.1 of this
(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
(1) The extent to which the violation:
(A) affected the substance of the policy, decision, or final
(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
(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