Media Law Handbook

Open Meetings


8. How is the Open Meetings Law enforced?
6. How does the law apply to the N.C. General Assembly?

7. What are other important features of the Open Meetings Law?

The Open Meetings Law contains a number of other provisions intended to reinforce the basic policies of the law. This section details those provisions.

Taping and broadcasting meetingsThe statute entitles any person who attends an open meeting to photograph, film, tape-record or otherwise reproduce any part of the meeting.[54] Furthermore, any radio or television station is entitled to broadcast any open meeting.[55] The public body may regulate the placement and use of equipment for these purposes, but it may not do so in a manner that thwarts or unduly interferes with these permitted activities.[56]

Written ballotsThe statute prohibits a public body from voting on any matter by secret ballot.[57] A board may use written ballots, but the ballots must be signed and made available for public inspection, and the minutes must show how each member voted.[58]  The statute also prohibits voting by reference, which means that a public body may not convene a closed session, reconvene in open session and vote on the topic under closed session discussion without identifying that for the public.[59] 

MinutesEach public body must keep “full and accurate” minutes of all official meetings, including closed sessions.[60]  These minutes may be in traditional written form or, if the public body wishes, they may take the form of sound or video recordings. Whatever the form, minutes of open sessions are public records, and the minutes kept of closed sessions may be kept confidential only so long as required to preserve the confidential purposes of the closed session.[61] As discussed above, minutes of closed sessions must be meaningful rather than perfunctory.[62]


[54] N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143-318.14(a).

[55] Id.

[56] N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.14(b).

[57] N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.13(b).

[58] Id.

[59] Id.

[60] N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.10(e).

[61] Id.

[62] Id.

8. How is the Open Meetings Law enforced?
6. How does the law apply to the N.C. General Assembly?

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