Changes effective 18 Jul 2003 by session law 2003, 287. Prior version was effective 26 Aug 1967 by session law 1967, 251.
I. For the purpose of this section, a "meeting" shall mean the convening of a quorum of the membership of a public body, as provided in RSA 91-A:1-a, to discuss or act upon a matter or matters over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power. "Meeting" shall not include:
(a) Any chance meeting or a social meeting neither planned nor intended for the purpose of discussing matters relating to official business and at which no decisions are made; however, no such chance or social meeting shall be used to circumvent the spirit of this chapter;
(b) Strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining;[
(c) Consultation with legal counsel[
(d) A caucus consisting of elected members of a public body of the same political party who were elected on a partisan basis at a state general election or elected on a partisan basis by a town or city which has adopted a partisan ballot system pursuant to RSA 669:12 or RSA 44:2.
II. All public proceedings shall be open to the public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meetings of those bodies or agencies. Except for town meetings, school district meetings and elections, no vote while in open session may be taken by secret ballot. Any person shall be permitted to use recording devices, including, but not limited to, tape recorders, cameras and videotape equipment, at such meetings. Minutes of all such meetings, including names of members, persons appearing before the bodies or agencies, and a brief description of the subject matter discussed and final decisions, shall be promptly recorded and open to public inspection within 144 hours of the public meeting, except as provided in RSA 91-A:6, and shall be treated as permanent records of any body or agency, or any subordinate body thereof, without exception. Except in an emergency or when there is a meeting of a legislative committee, a notice of the time and place of each such meeting, including a nonpublic session, shall be posted in 2 appropriate places or shall be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or town at least 24 hours, excluding Sundays and legal holidays, prior to such meetings. An emergency shall mean a situation where immediate undelayed action is deemed to be imperative by the chairman or presiding officer of the body or agency who shall employ whatever means are available to inform the public that a meeting is to be held. The minutes of the meeting shall clearly spell out the need for the emergency meeting. When a meeting of a legislative committee is held, publication made pursuant to the rules of the house of representatives or the senate, whichever rules are appropriate, shall be sufficient notice. If the charter of any city or guidelines or rules of order of any body or agency described in RSA 91-A:1-a require a broader public access to official meetings and records than herein described, such charter provisions or guidelines or rules of order shall take precedence over the requirements of this chapter.