The Open Meetings Act

The Open Meetings Act is an Illinois state law that requires meetings of public bodies to be open to the public except in certain, specific situations. The OMA ensures that the actions of public bodies are conducted in the open, during public meetings, and that the public is able to observe the deliberations behind those actions. The public must be given advance notice of the time, place and subject matter of meetings of public bodies.

NOTE: Many states have some version of the Open Meetings Act, though the details may differ from the Illinois law, which is described in detail below.

Public Bodies

A “public body” covered by OMA includes all legislative, executive, administrative or advisory bodies of the following:

  • the state
  • counties
  • townships, cities, villages or incorporated towns
  • school districts
  • all municipal corporations

“Public body” also includes all committees, subcommittees and subsidiary bodies of public bodies, such as park district boards, city councils and civic commissions.

Closed Meetings

Meetings can be closed to the public so officials can discuss:

  • the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of a specific employee or legal counsel for the public body;
  • collective negotiating matters or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees; or
  • discipline or removal of an occupant of a public office or appointment of an individual to fill a vacant public office.

Open Meetings Act Violations

If you think a “public body” has violated the Open Meeting Act you have 60 calendar days after the alleged violation occurs to file a Request for Review with the Office of the Attorney General.

If you need assistance from the attorney general’s office

Public Access Hotline 1-877-299-FOIA (3642) | publicaccess@atg.state.il.us

Adapted from the Better Government Association

Open Meetings Act (full text): bit.ly/openmeetingschicago