Formation of Public Policy; Procedures for Open Meetings
Short Title
State Legislature; Meetings
Invalid Actions; Standing







10-15-1. Formation of public policy; procedures for open meetings; exceptions and procedures for closed meetings.
  A.  In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an
    informed electorate, it is declared to be public policy of this state that all persons are
    entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affair of government and the
    official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. The formation of
    public policy or the conduct of business by vote shall not be conducted in closed
    meeting. All meetings of any public body except the legislature and the courts shall be
    public meetings, and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the
    deliberations and proceedings. Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the
    use of audio and video recording devices.
  B.  All meetings of a quorum of members of any board, commission, administrative
    adjudicatory body or other policymaking body of any state agency, any agency or
    authority of any county, municipality, district or any political subdivision, held for the    
    purpose of formulating public policy, including the development of personnel policy,
    rules, regulations or ordinances, discussing public business or for the purpose of taking
    any action within the authority of or the delegated authority of any board, commission
    or other policymaking body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all
    times, except as otherwise provided in the constitution of New Mexico or the Open
    Meetings Act [this article]. No public meeting once convened that is otherwise required
    to be open pursuant to the Open Meetings Act shall be closed or dissolved into small
    groups or committees for the purpose of permitting the closing of the meeting.
  C.  If otherwise allowed by law or rule of the public body, a member of a public body
    may participate in a meeting of the public body by means of a conference telephone or
    other similar communications equipment when it is otherwise difficult or impossible for
    the member to attend the meeting in person, provided that each member participating
    by conference telephone can be identified when speaking, all participants are able to
    hear each other at the same time and members of the public attending the meeting are
    able to hear any member of the public body who speaks during the meeting.
  D.  Any meetings at which the discussion or adoption of any proposed resolution, rule,
    regulation or formal action occurs and at which a majority or quorum of the body is in
    attendance, and any closed meetings, shall be held only after reasonable notice to the
    public. The affected body shall determine at least annually in a public meeting what
    notice for a public meeting is reasonable when applied to that body. That notice shall
    include broadcast stations licensed by the federal communications commission and
    newspapers of general circulation that have provided a written request for such notice.
  E.  A public body may recess and reconvene a meeting to a day subsequent to that stated
    in the meeting notice if, prior to recessing, the public body specifies the date, time and
    place for continuation of the meeting and, immediately following the recessed meeting,
    posts notice of the date, time and place for the reconvened meeting on or near the door
    of the place where the original meeting was held and in at least one other location
    appropriate to provide public notice of the continuation of the meeting. Only matters
    appearing on the agenda of the original meeting may be discussed at the reconvened
  F.  Meeting notices shall include an agenda containing a list of specific items of business to
    be discussed or transacted at the meeting or information on how the public may obtain
    a copy of such an agenda. Except in the case of an
emergency, the agenda shall be
  available to the public at least twenty-four
hours prior to the meeting.
Except for
    emergency matters, a public body shall take action only on items appearing on the
    agenda. For purposes of this subsection, an "emergency" refers to unforeseen
    circumstances that, if not addressed immediately by the public body, will likely result in
    injury or damage to persons or property or substantial financial loss to the public body.
G.The board, commission or other policymaking body shall keep written minutes of all
  its meetings. The minutes shall include, at a minimum, the date, time and place of
  the meeting, the names of members in attendance and those absent, the
of the proposals considered and a record of any decisions and votes
  taken that show how each member voted.
All minutes are open to public
  inspection. Draft minutes shall be prepared within ten working days after the
and shall be approved, amended or disapproved at the next meeting
  where a quorum is present. Minutes shall not become official until approved
  by the policymaking body.

H.  The provisions of Subsections A, B and G of this section do not apply to:

(1) meetings pertaining to issuance, suspension, renewal or revocation of a
        except that a hearing at which evidence is offered or rebutted shall be
open. All final
        actions on the issuance, suspension, renewal or revocation of a license shall be taken
        at an open meeting;

(2) limited personnel matters; provided that for purposes of the Open Meetings Act,
        "limited personnel matters" means the discussion of hiring, promotion, demotion,
        dismissal, assignment or resignation of or the investigation or consideration of
        complaints or charges against any individual
public employee; provided further that
        this subsection is not to be construed as
to exempt final actions on personnel from
        being taken at open public meetings,
nor does it preclude an aggrieved public
        employee from demanding a public
hearing. Judicial candidates interviewed by any
        commission shall have the right
to demand an open interview;

    (3) deliberations by a public body in connection with an administrative
        proceeding. For purposes of this paragraph, an "administrative
        proceeding" means a proceeding brought by or against a person
before a public
        body in which individual legal rights, duties or privileges are
required by law to be
        determined by the public body after an opportunity for a trial-type hearing. Except
        as otherwise provided in this section, the actual
administrative adjudicatory
        proceeding at which evidence is offered or
rebutted and any final action taken as a
        result of the proceeding shall occur in
an open meeting;

    (4) the discussion of personally identifiable information about any individual student,
        unless the student, his parent or guardian requests otherwise;

    (5) meetings for the discussion of bargaining strategy preliminary to collective

        bargaining negotiations between the policymaking body and a bargaining unit

        representing the employees of that policymaking body and collective bargaining
        sessions at which the policymaking body and the representatives of
the collective
        bargaining unit are present;

    (6) that portion of meetings at which a decision concerning purchases in an amount
        exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) that can be
made only from
        one source and that portion of meetings at which the contents
of competitive sealed 
        proposals solicited pursuant to the Procurement Code
[13-1-28 to 13-1-117 and
        13-1-118 to 13-1-199 NMSA 1978] are
discussed during the contract negotiation
        process. The actual approval of
purchase of the item or final action regarding the
        selection of a contractor shall
be made in an open meeting;

    (7) meetings subject to the attorney-client privilege pertaining to threatened or
        litigation in which the public body is or may become a participant;

    (8) meetings for the discussion of the purchase, acquisition or disposal of real
        or water rights by the public body;

    (9) those portions of meetings of committees or boards of public hospitals that
        less than fifty percent of their operating budget from direct public funds
        appropriations where strategic and long-range business plans are discussed; and

    (10) that portion of a meeting of the gaming control board dealing with
        made confidential pursuant to the provisions of the Gaming Control
Act [60-2E-1 to
        60-2E-60 NMSA 1978].


I.  If any meeting is closed pursuant to the exclusions contained in Subsection H of this
    section, the closure:

    (1) if made in an open meeting, shall be approved by a majority vote of a quorum of
        the policymaking body; the authority for the closure and the subject to be discussed
        shall be stated with reasonable specificity in the motion calling for the vote on a
        closed meeting; the vote shall be taken in an open meeting; and the vote of each
        individual member shall be recorded in the minutes. Only those subjects announced
        or voted upon prior to closure by the policymaking body may be discussed in a
        closed meeting; and

    (2) if called for when the policymaking body is not in an open meeting, shall not be held
        until public notice, appropriate under the circumstances, stating the specific provision
        of the law authorizing the closed meeting and stating with reasonable specificity the
        subject to be discussed is given to the members and to the general public.


J.  Following completion of any closed meeting, the minutes of the open meeting that was
        closed or the minutes of the next open meeting if the closed meeting was separately
        scheduled shall state that the matters discussed in the closed meeting were limited
        only to those specified in the motion for closure or in the notice of the separate
        closed meeting. This statement shall be approved by the public body under
        Subsection G of this section as part of the minutes.

History: 1953 Comp., § 5-6-23, enacted by Laws 1974, ch. 91, § 1; 1979, ch. 366, § 1; 1989, ch. 299, § 1; 1993, ch. 262, § 1; 1997, ch. 190, § 65.

10-15-1.1. Short Title.
  Chapter 10, Article 15 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the "Open Meetings Act".
History: 1978 Comp., § 10-15-1.1, enacted by Laws 1979, ch. 366, § 2; 1989, ch. 299, § 2.
10-15-2. State legislature; meetings.

A.  All meetings of a quorum of members of any committee or policymaking body of the
        state legislature held for the purpose of discussing public business or for the purpose
        of taking any action within the authority of or the delegated authority of such
        committee or body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times.
B.  The provisions of Subsection A of this section shall not apply to matters relating to
        personnel, or matters adjudicatory in nature, or any bill, resolution or other legislative
        matter not yet presented to either house of the legislature or general appropriation
C.  For the purposes of this section, "meeting" means a gathering of the members called
        by the presiding officer of a standing committee.

History: 1953 Comp., § 5-6-24, enacted by Laws 1974, ch. 91, § 2.

10-15-3. Invalid actions; standing.

A.  No resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance or action of any board, commission,
        committee or other policymaking body shall be valid unless taken or made at a
        meeting held in accordance with the requirements of Section 10-15-1 NMSA 1978.
        Every resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance or action of any board, commission,
        committee or other policymaking body shall be presumed to have been taken or
        made at a meeting held in accordance with the requirements of Section 10-15-1
        NMSA 1978.

B.  All provisions of the Open Meetings Act [this article] shall be enforced by the attorney
        general or by the district attorney in the county of jurisdiction. However, nothing in
        that act shall prevent an individual from independently applying for enforcement
        through the district courts, provided that the individual first provides written notice of
        the claimed violation to the public body and that the public body has denied or not
        acted on the claim within fifteen days of receiving it. A public meeting held to
        address a claimed violation of the Open Meetings Act shall include a summary of
        comments made at the meeting at which the claimed violation occurred.

C.  The district courts of this state shall have jurisdiction, upon the application of any
        person to enforce the purpose of the Open Meetings Act, by injunction, mandamus
        or other appropriate order. The court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees
        to any person who is successful in bringing a court action to enforce the provisions of
        the Open Meetings Act. If the prevailing party in a legal action brought under this
        section is a public body defendant, it shall be awarded court costs. A public body
        defendant that prevails in a court action brought under this section shall be awarded
        its reasonable attorney fees from the plaintiff if the plaintiff brought the action without
        sufficient information and belief that good grounds supported it.

D.  No section of the Open Meetings Act shall be construed to preclude other remedies
        or rights not relating to the question of open meetings.

History: 1953 Comp., § 5-6-25, enacted by Laws 1974, ch. 91, § 3; 1989, ch. 299, § 3; 1993, ch. 262, § 2; 1997, ch. 148, § 1.

10-15-4. Penalty.
  Any person violating any of the provisions of Section 10-15-1 or 10-15-2 NMSA 1978 is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense.
History: 1953 Comp., § 5-6-26, enacted by Laws 1974, ch. 91, § 4; 1989, ch. 299, § 4.