Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council

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Home Lawyers answer FAQs Open meetings law Can a governmental body go back into open session after convening in closed session?

Can a governmental body go back into open session after convening in closed session?

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Q: Can a governmental body go back into open session after convening in closed session?

A: Yes, as long as the notice requirements are still met. A governmental body is prohibited from reconvening in open session in the twelve hours following a closed session, unless specific public notice is given. This public notice must be given "at the same time and in the same manner" as the notice of the initial open session. Sec. 19.85(2), Stats. The practical implications of this are, in short, that a governmental body cannot at the beginning of the open session immediately vote to go into closed session only to later reconvene in open session and conduct business after all members of the public have left the meeting. The notice does not necessarily have to specify a time to reconvene in open session, but if it does, then the governmental body must wait until such time. A notice stating that the governmental body plans to reconvene in open session immediately following the closed session is acceptable notice under the open meetings law. Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Open Meetings Law: A Compliance Guide 16 (2005).

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