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General Laws

Section 18. As used in this section and sections 19 to 25, inclusive, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Deliberation”, an oral or written communication through any medium, including electronic mail, between or among a quorum of a public body on any public business within its jurisdiction; provided, however, that “deliberation” shall not include the distribution of a meeting agenda, scheduling information or distribution of other procedural meeting or the distribution of reports or documents that may be discussed at a meeting, provided that no opinion of a member is expressed.

“Emergency”, a sudden, generally unexpected occurrence or set of circumstances demanding immediate action.

“Executive session”, any part of a meeting of a public body closed to the public for deliberation of certain matters.

“Intentional violation”, an act or omission by a public body or a member thereof, in knowing violation of the open meeting law.

“Meeting”, a deliberation by a public body with respect to any matter within the body’s jurisdiction; provided, however, “meeting” shall not include:

(a) an on-site inspection of a project or program, so long as the members do not deliberate;

(b) attendance by a quorum of a public body at a public or private gathering, including a conference or training program or a media, social or other event, so long as the members do not deliberate;

(c) attendance by a quorum of a public body at a meeting of another public body that has complied with the notice requirements of the open meeting law, so long as the visiting members communicate only by open participation in the meeting on those matters under discussion by the host body and do not deliberate;

(d) a meeting of a quasi-judicial board or commission held for the sole purpose of making a decision required in an adjudicatory proceeding brought before it; or

(e) a session of a town meeting convened under section 9 of chapter 39 which would include the attendance by a quorum of a public body at any such session.

“Minutes”, the written report of a meeting created by a public body required by subsection (a) of section 22 and section 5A of chapter 66.

“Open meeting law”, sections 18 to 25, inclusive.

“Post notice”, to display conspicuously the written announcement of a meeting either in hard copy or electronic format.

“Preliminary screening”, the initial stage of screening applicants conducted by a committee or subcommittee of a public body solely for the purpose of providing to the public body a list of those applicants qualified for further consideration or interview.

“Public body”, a multiple-member board, commission, committee or subcommittee within the executive or legislative branch or within any county, district, city, region or town, however created, elected, appointed or otherwise constituted, established to serve a public purpose; provided, however, that the governing board of a local housing, redevelopment or other similar authority shall be deemed a local public body; provided, further, that the governing board or body of any other authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose in the commonwealth or any part thereof shall be deemed a state public body; provided, further, that “public body” shall not include the general court or the committees or recess commissions thereof, bodies of the judicial branch or bodies appointed by a constitutional officer solely for the purpose of advising a constitutional officer and shall not include the board of bank incorporation or the policyholders protective board; and provided further, that a subcommittee shall include any multiple-member body created to advise or make recommendations to a public body.

“Quorum”, a simple majority of the members of the public body, unless otherwise provided in a general or special law, executive order or other authorizing provision.

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