Mississippi Open Meetings Act – Detailed Analysis

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Open Meetings
A Detailed Analysis of the Act

 

I. STATUTE -- BASIC APPLICATION.

 

A. Who may attend?

Meetings are open to "the public." § 25-41-5.

B. Which governments are subject to the law?

1. State. Public bodies subject to the Act include any "policy-making entity, or committee thereof, of the State of Mississippi, or any political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state." § 25-41-3(a).

2. County. Yes. § 25-41-3(a).

3. Local or municipal. Yes. § 25-41-3(a).

C. What bodies are covered by the law.

1. Executive branch agencies. Executive branch agencies are covered, with the exception of public and private hospital staffs, public and private hospital boards and committees thereof, law enforcement officials, the military, the state probation and parole board, and the workers compensation commission. § 25-41-3(a).

2. Legislative bodies. Standing, interim, or special committees of the legislature are covered, but not subcommittees or legislative conference committees. Id.; Op. Att'y. Gen. October 17, 1989 to Rep. Jim Simpson (legislature may not by its own rules negate the applicability of the Act to legislative meetings).

3. Courts. The judiciary and all jury deliberations are exempt. § 25-41-3(a).

4. Nongovernmental bodies receiving public funds or benefits. The Act covers entities both "created by statute or executive order" and "supported wholly or in part by public funds" or expending public funds. § 25-41-3(a). Private or quasi-public entities who do not meet this test are not covered. See Op. Att'y. Gen. September 21, 1989 to Cecil Brown (non-profit corporation receiving state money not covered); Op. Att'y. Gen. Dec. 4, 1987 to Sen. Irb Benjamin (non-profit community action agency corporation not created by statute or executive order so not a "public body.") Op. Att'y. Gen. Mar. 9, 1994 to Jerry L. Mills, City Attorney of Ridgeland (non-profit baseball corporation, even though partially funded by the City, is not covered because it is not created by statute or order).

5. Nongovernmental groups whose members include governmental officials. These are not covered unless they meet the test set forth in § 25-41-3(a) and are both "created by statute or executive order" and are "supported wholly or in part by public funds." See I.C.4, supra. A county-wide volunteer governmental council is not covered by the Open Meetings Act but attendance at the meeting by members of locally elected boards may be covered. See Op. Att'y. Gen. Feb. 24, 1994 to Ronald S. Cochran, City of Biloxi.

6. Multi-state or regional bodies. These are not covered unless they meet the test set forth in § 25-41-3(a) and are both "created by statute or executive order" and are "supported wholly or in part by public funds." See I.C.4, supra.

7. Advisory boards and commissions, quasi-governmental entities. These are covered. § 25-41-3(a); Mayor and Aldermen v. Vicksburg Printing and Publishing Co., 434 So. 2d 1333, 1336-38 (Miss. 1983) (Vicksburg Planning Commission); Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 7, 1981 to Howard C. Ross Jr. (Jackson Planning Commission).

8. Other bodies to which governmental or public functions are delegated. These are covered if they meet the test set forth in § 25-41-3(a) and are both "created by statute or executive order" and are "supported wholly or in part by public funds." See I.C.4, supra. The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning is not exempt, even though it is created by constitution as well as statute. Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corp., 478 So. 2d 273-78 (Miss. 1985). 9. Appointed as well as elected bodies. Whether the public body is elected or appointed is irrelevant to coverage under the Open Meetings Act.

D. What constitutes a meeting subject to the Act.

1. Number. To have a "meeting," there must be an "assemblage of members of a public body at which official acts may be taken upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power." § 25-41-3(b). Although there is no quorum requirement in the language of the statute, the Attorney General's office has opined that a meeting of any governmental body in which a quorum is not present does not fall strictly within the purview of the Open Meetings Act: Without a quorum, no "official acts may be taken upon a matter over which the public body has supervision." Op. Att'y. Gen. April 9, 1999 to Robert P. Chamberlin. (Some public bodies have been known to take advantage of this loophole by holding controversial meetings piecemeal, so that no quorum of the board was present at any given time.) Chance meetings or social gatherings are exempt. § 25-41-17. A "chance" meeting cannot be a meeting which was called, either officially or unofficially. Factors to be considered in determining whether a meeting is a "social gathering" include the activities that take place, the notice given, the agenda, and claims for per diem and travel expenses. A luncheon held on the day of a board meeting was held not to be a "social gathering" in Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corp., 478 So. 2d 269, 278 (Miss. 1985). A public board can, however, attend a social function without complying with the Act "where no action is taken and their only function is to listen" Hinds County Board of Supervisors v. Common Cause, 551 So. 2d 107, 123 (Miss. 1989). Meetings with other public bodies are covered. Id.

2. Nature of business subject to the law.

a. "Information gathering" "fact-finding" sessions. These are covered. Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corp., 478 So. 2d 269, 278 (Miss. 1985). "Work sessions" are also covered. Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 22, 1984 to Franklin C. McKenzie Jr.

b. Deliberations toward decisions. These are covered. Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corporation, 478 So. 2d 269, 278 (Miss. 1985). Board members cannot meet informally before the meeting to decide how they will vote. Op. Att'y Gen. Feb. 15, 1995 to Freida E. Sipes. Cf. Maxey v. Smith, 823 F. Supp. 1321, 1331 (N.D. Miss. 1993) (potential due process violation).

3. Electronic meetings. No specific reference or requirement that the "assemblage" be in person. § 25-41-3(b).

a. Conference calls. Telephone polls may not be used to transact public business. Op. Att'y. Gen. April 20, 1984 to George S. Smith; Op. Att'y. Gen. May 14, 1987 to Sharron F. Abide. If telephone polls are taken, the deliberations must have taken place pursuant to the Open Meetings Act. Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corporation, 478 So. 2d 269, 278-279 (Miss. 1985). See also, Op. Att'y. Gen. Sept. 26, 1990 to Katherine Skelton (telephone conference call may be used by a board member to participate in a lawfully called meeting provided there is a quorum physically present and it is done in a manner that will allow the public in attendance to hear all discussion and deliberations regarding any and all matters taken up at such a meeting). § 83-23-219 (Rev. 1991) (Mississippi Life and Health Ins. Guaranty Association to establish regular times and places for conference calls).

b. E-mail. No specific reference.

E. Categories of meetings subject to the law.

1. Regular meetings.

a. Definition. Not defined in the Act.

b. Notice. No notice need be given if the time and place of meeting is specifically prescribed by statute. § 25-41-13. If there is no statutory provision, the public body is to state in its minutes the times and places and procedures by which its meetings are to be held. Legislative committee meeting times are announced during the session by loudspeaker or bulletin board, and at other times are kept by the clerk. §§ 25-41-13(3), and (4).

c. Minutes.

(1) Information required. Must show "the members present and absent; the date, time and place of the meeting; an accurate recording of any final actions taken at such meeting; and a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and any other information that the public body request be included or reflected in the minutes." § 25-41-11. See Op. Att'y. Gen. November 27, 1989 to Guy T. Gillespie, III.

(2) Are minutes public records? Minutes must be recorded within 30 days and are a public record. § 25-41-11 (Supp. 1991); Op. Att'y. Gen. July 16, 1986 to Bennie G. Thompson. Draft minutes are also a public record, and must be made available within 14 working days after a request is made. Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 22, 1983 to Mike Davis; Op. Att'y. Gen. Jan. 2, 1986 to Charles S. Tindall III.

2. Special or emergency meetings.

a. Definition. No statutory definition.

b. Notice requirements. Notice "of the place, date, hour and subject matter of any recess meeting, adjourned meeting, interim meeting or any special meeting shall be posted within one (1) hour after such meeting is called in a prominent place available to examination and inspection by the general public in the building in which the public body normally meets." § 25-41-13(1). Notice given must be "reasonably calculated to insure that a person could find out that a regular, recessed, interim or special called meeting is scheduled and where and when it will occur." Op. Att'y. Gen. March 23, 1983 to E. Foley Ransom. See Op. Att'y. Gen. December 18, 1989 to John R. Tabb (notice provision applied to special meetings of the Miss. State Highway Commission). By special statute, notice of all special or adjourned meetings of a board of supervisors must be posted at the courthouse door or published in the newspaper five days before the meeting. § 19-3-19 (Rev. 1995); Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 24, 1989 to Ruma Hague (notice need not list every party that may be affected in deliberations). Op. Att'y. Gen. Dec. 29, 1986 to Joe B. Moss.

c. Minutes.

(1) Information required. Must show "the members present and absent; the date, time and place of the meeting; an accurate recording of any final actions taken at such meeting; and a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and any other information that the public body request be included or reflected in the minutes." § 25-41-11. See Op. Att'y. Gen. November 27, 1989 to Guy T. Gillespie, III.

(2) Are minutes public records? Minutes must be recorded within 30 days and are a public record. § 25-41-11; Op. Att'y. Gen. July 16, 1986 to Bennie G. Thompson. Draft minutes are also a public record, and must be made available within 14 working days after a request is made. Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 22, 1983 to Mike Davis; Op. Att'y. Gen. Jan. 2, 1986 to Charles S. Tindall III.

3. Closed meetings or executive sessions.2

a. Definition. No statutory definition.

b. Notice requirements. Notice must be given as for other meetings. The meeting must begin as an open meeting and must be closed by a three-fifths vote. § 25-41-7(1). Op. Att'y. Gen. June 13, 1990 to Freddie Love (application of § 25-41-7 to a meeting of a mayor and city aldermen).

c. Minutes.

(1) Information required. Must show "the members present and absent; the date, time and place of the meeting; an accurate recording of any final actions taken at such meeting; and a record, by individual member, of any votes taken; and any other information that the public body request be included or reflected in the minutes." § 25-41-11. See Op. Att'y. Gen. November 27, 1989 to Guy T. Gillespie, III.

(2) Are minutes public records? Minutes must be recorded within 30 days and are a public record. § 25-41-11 (Supp. 1991); Op. Att'y. Gen. July 16, 1986 to Bennie G. Thompson. Draft minutes are also a public record, and must be made available within 14 working days after a request is made. Op. Att'y. Gen. Aug. 22, 1983 to Mike Davis; Op. Att'y. Gen. Jan. 2, 1986 to Charles S. Tindall III.

d. Requirement to meet in public before closing meeting. Meeting must begin as an open meeting. § 25-41-7. The subsequent procedures are as follows:

(1) A member must make motion in open meeting for the meeting to be closed to determine whether or not the board should declare and executive session. The vote on this motion is taken in an open meeting. If a majority votes to close the meeting to make a determination on the question of an executive session, the meeting is closed for this purpose. § 25-41-7(2).

(2) No other business during this closed interim shall be considered until a vote has been taken on whether or not to declare an executive session, § 25-41-7(2). In order to go into executive session, a majority of three-fifths of those present must vote in favor of it. § 25-41-7(1).

(3) The Board must then state in open meeting the reason for going into executive session, and this reason and total vote on that question must be recorded on the minutes of the meeting. § 25-41-7(3), (5).

(4) The vote to go into executive session is applicable only to that particular meeting on that particular day. § 25-41-7(6).

(5) Action on the stated subject matter of the executive session may be taken during executive session, but the action must be recorded in the minutes. Op. Att'y. Gen. December 6, 1989 to Paul B. Henderson.

e. Requirement to state statutory authority for closing meetings before closure. The reason for holding an executive session shall be stated in an open meeting and shall be recorded in the minutes, § 25-41-7(3); Op. Att'y. Gen. June 13, 1990 to Freddie Lover. The reason given must be stated "with sufficient specificity to inform those present that there is in reality a specific, discrete matter or area which the board had determined should be discussed in executive session." Hinds Co. Bd. of Supervisors, supra, 551 So. 2d 111. The discussion of "litigation" is not a sufficient reason. Id. See also Op. Att'y Gen. Aug. 22, 1991 to Diane Stewart. ("To simply say `personnel matters,' or `litigation' tells nothing.")

f. Tape recording requirements. None.

F. Recording/Broadcast of Meetings.

1. Sound recordings allowed. The public body may "make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations for the conduct of persons attending its meetings." § 25-41-9. Tape recording must be allowed so long as it does not interfere with the orderly conduct of the meeting. Op. Att'y. Gen. Sept. 18, 1985 to Stanford Young. See also Op. Att'y. Gen. Nov. 20, 1991 to Leslie Scott ("creating a rule which expressly prohibits all sound equipment is not reasonable. The commission could only bar sound equipment in the hearing if the equipment seriously disrupts the orderly flow of the meeting"). See also Op. Att'y. Gen. Sept. 6, 1990 to Henry L. Lackey ("whether television and radio coverage disrupts a meeting are questions of fact to be determined by public officials charged with the responsibility to enforce reasonable rules and regulations for the conduct of persons attending open meetings"); Op. Att'y. Gen. May 3, 1990 to Fred Garrett.

2. Photographic recordings allowed. There is no statutory language or attorney general's opinion which deals directly with photographing meetings.

 

II. EXEMPTIONS AND OTHER LEGAL LIMITATIONS.

A. Exemptions in the open meetings statute.

1. Character of exemptions.

a. General or specific. Exemptions are specific, and exclusive. Board of Trustees v. Mississippi Publishers Corp., 478 So. 2d 269, 277 (Miss. 1985).

b. Mandatory or discretionary closure. Exemptions are not mandatory. They are discretionary. § 25-41-7(3).

2. Description of each exemption.

a. "Transaction of business and discussion of personnel matters relating to the job performance, character, professional competence, or physical or mental health of a person holding a specific position." § 25-41-7(4)(a). This exemption includes the transaction of business and discussions regarding "employment or job performance of a specific person in a specific position or termination of an employee holding a specific position," including discussion "concerning a line item in a budget which might affect the termination of an employee or employees" but not including final budgetary approval. § 25-41-7(k). The legislature adopted these definitions in 1990 to reject the suggestion in Hinds County Board of Supervisors v. Common Cause, 551 So. 2d 107, 113 (Miss. 1989) that "personnel matters" could include a "large area of subject matter" such as an "increase in life insurance" and the even broader views stated by the trial court. A "personnel matter" must relate to an employee "holding a specific position." Discussion of matters affecting employees generally are not exempt. Also not exempt are discussions concerning other state officials, the employees of other agencies, or independent contractors such as architects. Id. at 124-35. See also Note, The Personnel Matters Exception to the Mississippi Open Meetings Act - A Cloud Over the Sunshine Law, 7 Miss. Coll. L. Rev. 181 (1987). Members of the Public Employees' Retirement System may request closure of hearings regarding a member's mental or physical incapacitation for the future performance of duty. § 25-11-113(1)(c) (Supp. 1996).

b. "Strategy sessions or negotiations with respect to prospective litigation, litigation or issuance of an appealable order when an open meeting would have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the public body." § 25-41-7(4)(b). A public body can invoke this exception and close a meeting concerning city annexation, even when no attorney is present. The phrase "prospective litigation" "connotes litigation reasonably likely to occur in the reasonably foreseeable future," not "imminent" litigation. Mayor and Aldermen v. Vicksburg Printing & Pub. Co., 434 So. 2d 1339-40 (Miss. 1983); Op. Att'y. Gen. May 1, 1987 to John R. Drennan.

c. "Transaction of business and discussion regarding the report, development or course of action regarding security personnel, plans or devices." § 25-41-7(4)(c).

d. "Investigative proceedings by any public body regarding allegations of misconduct or violation of law." § 25-41-7(4)(d).

e. "Any body of the Legislature which is meeting on matters within the jurisdiction of such body." § 25-41-7(4)(e).

f. "Cases of extraordinary emergency which would pose immediate or irrevocable harm or damage to persons and/or property within the jurisdiction of such public body." § 25-41-7(4)(f). This exemption was interpreted to allow the State Board of Medical Licensure to hold executive sessions regarding the licensing of abortion doctors. Op. Att'y. Gen. Apr. 20, 1995 to P. Doyle Bradshaw.

g. "Transaction of business and discussion regarding the prospective purchase, sale or leasing of lands." § 25-41-7(4)(g).

h. "Discussions between a school board and individual students who attend a school within the jurisdiction of such school board or the parents or teachers of such students regarding problems of such students or their parents or teachers." § 25-41-7(4)(h).

i. "Transaction of business and discussion concerning the preparation of tests for admission to practice in recognized professions." § 25-41-7(4)(i). A 1988 statute purports also to exempt meetings of the Mississippi Advisory Council in Occupational Therapy "upon request of an applicant who fails an examination, to prepare a response indicating any reason for his or her failure." § 73-24-11 (Rev. 1995).

j. "Transaction of business and discussions or negotiations regarding the location, relocation or expansion of a business or an industry." § 25-41-7(4)(j).

B. Other constitutional or statutory requirements for closed or open meetings.

1. "[A]ll courts shall be open . . ." Miss. Const. of 1890, art. 3, § 24. Despite this language, the closure of pretrial proceedings in a murder case was upheld in Mississippi Publishers Corp. v. Coleman, 515 So. 2d 1163 (1987).

2. "In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have a right to . . . a speedy and public trial . . . ." Miss. Const. of 1890, art. 3, § 26.

3. The legislature may close its doors "in cases which may require secrecy." Miss. Const. of 1890, art. 4, § 58; see also § 25-41-7(4)(e).

4. Meetings in public schools must be "public meetings," § 37-7-301(k) (Rev. 1996); Op. Att'y. Gen. Jan. 20, 1983 to Will A. Hickman.

5. Insurers who wish to challenge actions by the insurance commissioner are given the right to a confidential hearing in certain instances. 1996 Miss. Laws ch. 478.

C. Court mandated opening, closing.

1. "[I]n prosecutions for rape, adultery, fornication, sodomy or the crime against nature the court may, in its discretion, exclude from the courtroom all persons except such as are necessary in the conduct of the trial." Miss. Const. of 1890 art. 3, § 26. In Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596, 608 n.22 (1982), the United States Supreme Court expressly reserved the question of whether this clause is constitutional under the first amendment.

2. "The general public shall be excluded [from family court hearings in cases of children] and only such persons shall be admitted as have a direct interest in or who have been subpoenaed as witnesses therein." § 43-23-17 (Rev. 1993).

3. On closure of court proceedings generally in Mississippi, see In re Gannett River States Pub. Corp., 630 So. 2d 351 (Miss. 1994); Gannett River States Publishing Co. v. Hand, 571 So. 2d 941 (Miss. 1990); Mississippi Publishers Corp. v. Coleman, 515 So. 2d 1163 (Miss. 1987).

 

III. MEETING CATEGORIES -- OPEN OR CLOSED.

A. Adjudications by administrative bodies. No express exemption, but the litigation exemption might apply to deliberations. See § 25-41-7(4)(b). See also Op. Att'y. Gen. Oct. 16, 1989 to William Bruce McKinley. ("This office is of the opinion the Act does not exclude records made as they relate to pre-decisional and deliberative matters except to the extent that they may be otherwise expressly protected by the law").

B. Budget sessions. Open, except for personnel matters. See § 25-41-7(4)(a); II.A.2.a., supra.

C. Business and industry relations. Sometimes exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(j); II.A.2.j., supra.

D. Federal programs. No specific exemption.

E. Financial data of public bodies. No specific exemption.

F. Financial data, trade secrets or proprietary data of private corporations and individuals. No specific exemption.

G. Gifts, trusts and honorary degrees. No exemption.

H. Grand jury testimony by public employees. Grand jury proceedings may not be disclosed by grand jurors for at least six months after the final adjournment of the grand jury. § 13-5-61.

I. Licensing examinations. Exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(i); II.A.2.i., supra.

J. Litigation; pending litigation or other attorney-client privileges. Generally exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(b); II.A.2.b., supra.

K. Negotiations and collective bargaining of public employees. No specific exemption.

L. Parole board meetings. Not covered by the Act. § 25-41-3(a).

M. Patients; discussion of individual patients. Hospitals are not covered by the Act. § 25-41-3(a).

N. Personnel matters. Exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(a); II.A.2.a., supra.

O. Real estate negotiations. Exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(g); II.A.2.g., supra.

P. Security of buildings, personnel, or other. Exempt. See § 25-41-7(4)(c); II.A.2.c., supra.

Q. Students, discussions on individual students. Exempt if before school board. See § 25-41-7(4)(h); II.A.2.h., supra.

R. Zoning Commissions. No specific exemption. Must substantially comply with Open Meetings Act. Citizens for Equal Property Rights v. Board of Supervisors of Lowndes County, 730 So.2d 1141, 1143.

S. Democratic and Republican Party Executive Meetings. Exempt. See Hey v. Irving, 176 F.R.D. 235 (N.D. Miss. 1997) (political parties are not "public bodies" as defined by Miss. Code. Ann. § 25-41-3, and are, therefore, not subject to Mississippi's Open Meetings Act.)

 

IV. Procedure for Asserting Right of Access.

A. When to challenge.

1. Does the law provide expedited procedure for reviewing request to attend upcoming meetings? No.

2. When barred from attending. Party seeking immediate injunctive relief from the courts should do so as quickly as possible after public body has refused access, or indicated it will refuse access.

3. To set aside decision. Court will not reverse action taken in meeting closed in violation of the Act. Shipman v. North Panola Consolidated School District, 641 So. 2d 1106, 1116 (Miss. 1994).

4. For ruling on future meetings. No provision.

5. Other. None.

B. How to start.

1. Where to ask for ruling.

a. Administrative forum.

(1) Agency procedure for challenge. Generally, a member of the public should seek access to a meeting and be turned away before bringing suit. It is a good idea to question members of the public body concerning what went on in executive session. If they will respond, this can be a way of establishing the public body wrongfully considered non-exempt matters in executive session. There is no official administrative procedure for challenging closed meetings.

(2) Commission or independent agency. None.

b. State attorney general. Only public officials can request formal opinions from the attorney general.

c. Court. See "Court review" below.

2. Applicable time limits. None.

3. Contents of request for ruling. No requirement.

4. How long should you wait for a response? Public body must vote in public before it goes into executive session. § 25-41-7.

5. Are subsequent or concurrent measures (formal or informal) available? No.

C. Court review of administrative action.

1. Who may sue? "[A]ny citizen of the state" may sue. § 25-41-15.

2. Will the court give priority to the pleading? There is no provision in the Act that would make these cases preference cases.

3. Pro se possibility, advisability. A court is unlikely to take a pro se complaint seriously.

4. What issues will the court address?

a. Open the meeting. Court may issue injunctive relief or writs of mandamus to enforce the Act. § 25-41-15.

b. Invalidate the decision. A violation of the Open Meetings Act does not make the decision void or voidable. Shipman v. North Panola Consolidated School District, 641 So. 2d 1106, 1116 (Miss. 1994).

c. Order future meetings open. The courts have, for example, issued injunctive relief requiring the Board of Institution of Higher Learning to hold open meetings with college presidents. Board of Trustees, supra, 478 So. 2d at 278.

5. Pleading format. Pleading format is governed by the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure.

6. Time limit for filing suit. None other than general three-year statute of limitations, § 15-1-49 (Rev. 1995). As a practical matter, suits seeking extraordinary relief such as an injunction should be brought as soon as possible after the Act is violated.

7. What court. Suit must be filed in chancery court.

8. Judicial remedies available. Remedies may include injunctive relief or writs of mandamus. See § 25-41-15.

9. Availability of court costs and attorney's fees. A successful plaintiff may recover court costs, but there is no provision in the statute for attorney's fees.

10. Fines. There is no provision in the Act for fines.

11. Other penalties. There is no provision in the Act for penalties. If a plaintiff obtains a consent decree, however, violation of the decree is civil contempt and a plaintiff establishing civil contempt is entitled to recover its attorneys' fees. Hinds Co. Bd. Sups. v. Common Cause, 551 So. 2d 107, 125 (Miss. 1989). A party who fails to prove criminal contempt cannot appeal the judgment because to do so would place the defendant in double jeopardy. Common Cause v. Smith, 548 So. 2d 412 (Miss. 1989).

D. Appealing initial court decisions.

1. Appeal routes. Appeal is to the Mississippi Supreme Court which may refer the case to the Court of Appeals.

2. Time limits for filing appeals. Generally 30 days. See Miss. Sup. Ct. R. 4.

3. Contact of interest amici. The Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, P. O. Box 1024, Jackson, MS 39215, has filed an amicus brief in a Mississippi Open Meetings Act case in the past. Other interested organizations are listed in the records outline above.

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