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N.D. Attorney General opinion: Dec.22

Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley has issued a new open meetings opinion.

Request: Did the Billings County Commission violate the open meetings laws when a quorum met in a series of smaller gatherings without providing notice to the public?

Conclusion: The Billings County Commissioners met individually with then North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos and discussed the Little Missouri Bridge, a potential county project. The Commission expressed no intent to circumvent the open meetings laws; however, intent is not a requirement. The Commission did purposefully meet, collectively involving a quorum, in order to discuss public business. Therefore, the Billings County Commission violated open meetings laws when it failed to provide notice of such meetings to the public.

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