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Public Bodies Must Put Agendas on Website and Must Maintain Email Distribution System

Oklahoma law requires public bodies to post their agendas on their public websites and they must maintain a mailing list for the public for free as well.

We are often asked by the citizens how to best stay informed on how their local city or town is being governed. The good news is that Oklahoma has some great laws in place to ensure our leaders do not operate in darkness. The bad news is that too many of our public officials do not believe in following these laws, instead preferring to operate under a cloak of secrecy.

There are two statutes that every concerned citizen should be aware of that help them stay informed on what their local government is up to. We want to highlight these two statutes for you here so you can stay informed and help hold your local officials accountable.

The first law we want to highlight is in Title 74 of the Oklahoma Statutes. Section 3106.2 requires that if a governing body has a public website, then the governing body must post the following information on it:

  1. Schedule of all regularly scheduled public meetings.
  2. Date, time, place, and agenda of all public meetings.
  3. Names of the members of the governing body. (ie Council members, board members etc)

 

The second law we want to highlight is in the Open Meeting Act (Title 25). Section 311 sets forth the requirements of public notices for public meetings. Most importantly it MANDATES that a public body SHALL maintain an email distribution system for distribution of public meeting notices. Any member of the public may request to be included on this email distribution list for free. This is not something the public officials can deny you. They must add you to the list, whether they like it or not.

We suggest that you contact your local City Clerk or Town Clerk and send them the following request by email:

“Pursuant to Title 25, § 311 of the Oklahoma Statutes I hereby request to be added to the email distribution system for distribution of public meeting notices. My email address is ________. As you are aware the [insert your City/Town name] is mandated by Oklahoma law to “consistently maintain an email distribution system” and is required to include any citizen who requests to be included. Additionally, this must be done “without charge.” Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to receiving all public notices in my email.”

The emails you receive must include the date, time, place, and agenda for the meeting. Additionally, it must be sent to you no less than 24 hours prior to the meeting.

If you have any difficulties with your local government following the above mentioned laws give us a call. A conversation with them or a lawsuit against them may change their minds and convince them that it’s best to follow the law.

Now go forth and and continue your civic duty of being an informed and educated citizen.

Okla. Stat. tit. 74 § 3106.2 - Public Website

State statute requiring public meeting notices to be published on government websites.

Okla. Stat. tit. 25, § 311 - Public Bodies - Notice

State statute on notice and maintaining a mailing list for the public.

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