Q&A: Caucus and Open Door Law

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From The Truth (Elkhart):

Question: A council plans to hold a caucus to discuss its budget and potential cuts. All seven members of the council are Republicans. Would this comply with the Open Door Law?

Answer: The caucus exception to the definition of a meeting under the Open Door Law was designed to allow factions of a governing body to meet in secret for the purpose of discussing political strategy and prepare the faction for action to be taken during an open meeting.

If all seven members are Republican, there doesn’t appear to be any need for a caucus to determine how to achieve a party goal during the regular meeting.

Almost all the calls I receive concerning “caucuses” are situations where the caucus includes all the members of the governing body or six out of seven.

In this situation, it appears someone is trying to use the exception to move debate that should be conducted in an open meeting to a secret session.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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