Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency
IC 5-14-1.5
     Chapter 1.5. Public Meetings (Open Door Law)

IC 5-14-1.5-1
Purpose
    
Sec. 1. In enacting this chapter, the general assembly finds and declares that this state and its political subdivisions exist only to aid in the conduct of the business of the people of this state. It is the intent of this chapter that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, in order that the people may be fully informed. The purposes of this chapter are remedial, and its provisions are to be liberally construed with the view of carrying out its policy.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.67-1987, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-2
Definitions
    
Sec. 2. For the purposes of this chapter:
    (a) "Public agency", except as provided in section 2.1 of this chapter, means the following:
        (1) Any board, commission, department, agency, authority, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising a portion of the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state.
        (2) Any county, township, school corporation, city, town, political subdivision, or other entity, by whatever name designated, exercising in a limited geographical area the executive, administrative, or legislative power of the state or a delegated local governmental power.
        (3) Any entity which is subject to either:
            (A) budget review by either the department of local government finance or the governing body of a county, city, town, township, or school corporation; or
            (B) audit by the state board of accounts that is required by statute, rule, or regulation.
        (4) Any building corporation of a political subdivision of the state of Indiana that issues bonds for the purpose of constructing public facilities.
        (5) Any advisory commission, committee, or body created by statute, ordinance, or executive order to advise the governing body of a public agency, except medical staffs or the committees of any such staff.
        (6) The Indiana gaming commission established by IC 4-33, including any department, division, or office of the commission.
        (7) The Indiana horse racing commission established by IC 4-31, including any department, division, or office of the commission.
    (b) "Governing body" means two (2) or more individuals who are:
        (1) A public agency that:


            (A) is a board, a commission, an authority, a council, a committee, a body, or other entity; and
            (B) takes official action on public business.
        (2) The board, commission, council, or other body of a public agency which takes official action upon public business.
        (3) Any committee appointed directly by the governing body or its presiding officer to which authority to take official action upon public business has been delegated. An agent or agents appointed by the governing body to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the governing body does not constitute a governing body for purposes of this chapter.
    (c) "Meeting" means a gathering of a majority of the governing body of a public agency for the purpose of taking official action upon public business. It does not include any of the following:
        (1) Any social or chance gathering not intended to avoid this chapter.
        (2) Any on-site inspection of any:
            (A) project;
            (B) program; or
            (C) facilities of applicants for incentives or assistance from the governing body.
        (3) Traveling to and attending meetings of organizations devoted to betterment of government.
        (4) A caucus.
        (5) A gathering to discuss an industrial or a commercial prospect that does not include a conclusion as to recommendations, policy, decisions, or final action on the terms of a request or an offer of public financial resources.
        (6) An orientation of members of the governing body on their role and responsibilities as public officials, but not for any other official action.
        (7) A gathering for the sole purpose of administering an oath of office to an individual.
        (8) Collective bargaining discussions that the governing body of a school corporation engages in directly with bargaining adversaries. This subdivision only applies to a governing body that has not appointed an agent or agents to conduct collective bargaining on behalf of the governing body as described in subsection (b)(3).
    (d) "Official action" means to:
        (1) receive information;
        (2) deliberate;
        (3) make recommendations;
        (4) establish policy;
        (5) make decisions; or
        (6) take final action.
    (e) "Public business" means any function upon which the public agency is empowered or authorized to take official action.
    (f) "Executive session" means a meeting from which the public is excluded, except the governing body may admit those persons

necessary to carry out its purpose.
    (g) "Final action" means a vote by the governing body on any motion, proposal, resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance, or order.
    (h) "Caucus" means a gathering of members of a political party or coalition which is held for purposes of planning political strategy and holding discussions designed to prepare the members for taking official action.
    (i) "Deliberate" means a discussion which may reasonably be expected to result in official action (defined under subsection (d)(3), (d)(4), (d)(5), or (d)(6)).
    (j) "News media" means all newspapers qualified to receive legal advertisements under IC 5-3-1, all news services (as defined in IC 34-6-2-87), and all licensed commercial or public radio or television stations.
    (k) "Person" means an individual, a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership, an unincorporated association, or a governmental entity.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.1; P.L.33-1984, SEC.1; P.L.67-1987, SEC.2; P.L.8-1993, SEC.56; P.L.277-1993(ss), SEC.127; P.L.1-1994, SEC.20; P.L.50-1995, SEC.14; P.L.1-1998, SEC.71; P.L.90-2002, SEC.16; P.L.35-2003, SEC.1; P.L.179-2007, SEC.1; P.L.103-2013, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-2.1
"Public agency"; certain providers exempted
    
Sec. 2.1. "Public agency", for purposes of this chapter, does not mean a provider of goods, services, or other benefits that meets the following requirements:
        (1) The provider receives public funds through an agreement with the state, a county, or a municipality that meets the following requirements:
            (A) The agreement provides for the payment of fees to the entity in exchange for services, goods, or other benefits.
            (B) The amount of fees received by the entity under the agreement is not based upon or does not involve a consideration of the tax revenues or receipts of the state, county, or municipality.
            (C) The amount of the fees are negotiated by the entity and the state, county, or municipality.
            (D) The state, county, or municipality is billed for fees by the entity for the services, goods, or other benefits actually provided by the entity.
        (2) The provider is not required by statute, rule, or regulation to be audited by the state board of accounts.
As added by P.L.179-2007, SEC.2.

IC 5-14-1.5-3
Open meetings; secret ballot votes; member participating by electronic means of communication


     Sec. 3. (a) Except as provided in section 6.1 of this chapter, all meetings of the governing bodies of public agencies must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them.
    (b) A secret ballot vote may not be taken at a meeting.
    (c) A meeting conducted in compliance with section 3.5 or 3.6 of this chapter or any other statute that authorizes a governing body to conduct a meeting using an electronic means of communication does not violate this section.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.38-1988, SEC.6; P.L.1-1991, SEC.35; P.L.179-2007, SEC.3; P.L.134-2012, SEC.10.

IC 5-14-1.5-3.1
Serial meetings
    
Sec. 3.1. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the governing body of a public agency violates this chapter if members of the governing body participate in a series of at least two (2) gatherings of members of the governing body and the series of gatherings meets all of the following criteria:
        (1) One (1) of the gatherings is attended by at least three (3) members but less than a quorum of the members of the governing body and the other gatherings include at least two (2) members of the governing body.
        (2) The sum of the number of different members of the governing body attending any of the gatherings at least equals a quorum of the governing body.
        (3) All the gatherings concern the same subject matter and are held within a period of not more than seven (7) consecutive days.
        (4) The gatherings are held to take official action on public business.
For purposes of this subsection, a member of a governing body attends a gathering if the member is present at the gathering in person or if the member participates in the gathering by telephone or other electronic means, excluding electronic mail.
    (b) This subsection applies only to the city-county council of a consolidated city or county having a consolidated city. The city-county council violates this chapter if its members participate in a series of at least two (2) gatherings of members of the city-county council and the series of gatherings meets all of the following criteria:
        (1) One (1) of the gatherings is attended by at least five (5) members of the city-county council and the other gatherings include at least three (3) members of the city-county council.
        (2) The sum of the number of different members of the city-county council attending any of the gatherings at least equals a quorum of the city-county council.
        (3) All the gatherings concern the same subject matter and are held within a period of not more than seven (7) consecutive

days.
        (4) The gatherings are held to take official action on public business.
For purposes of this subsection, a member of the city-county council attends a gathering if the member is present at the gathering in person or if the member participates in the gathering by telephone or other electronic means, excluding electronic mail.
    (c) A gathering under subsection (a) or (b) does not include:
        (1) a social or chance gathering not intended by any member of the governing body to avoid the requirements of this chapter;
        (2) an onsite inspection of any:
            (A) project;
            (B) program; or
            (C) facilities of applicants for incentives or assistance from the governing body;
        (3) traveling to and attending meetings of organizations devoted to the betterment of government;
        (4) a caucus;
        (5) a gathering to discuss an industrial or a commercial prospect that does not include a conclusion as to recommendations, policy, decisions, or final action on the terms of a request or an offer of public financial resources;
        (6) an orientation of members of the governing body on their role and responsibilities as public officials, but not for any other official action;
        (7) a gathering for the sole purpose of administering an oath of office to an individual; or
        (8) a gathering between less than a quorum of the members of the governing body intended solely for members to receive information and deliberate on whether a member or members may be inclined to support a member's proposal or a particular piece of legislation and at which no other official action will occur.
    (d) A violation described in subsection (a) or (b) is subject to section 7 of this chapter.
As added by P.L.179-2007, SEC.4.

IC 5-14-1.5-3.5
Electronic meetings of political subdivisions; statutory authorization required
    
Sec. 3.5. (a) This section applies only to a governing body of a public agency of a political subdivision.
    (b) A member of the governing body of a public agency who is not physically present at a meeting of the governing body but who communicates with members of the governing body during the meeting by telephone, computer, video conferencing, or any other electronic means of communication:
        (1) may not participate in final action taken at the meeting unless the member's participation is expressly authorized by statute; and


        (2) may not be considered to be present at the meeting unless considering the member to be present at the meeting is expressly authorized by statute.
    (c) The memoranda prepared under section 4 of this chapter for a meeting in which a member participates by using a means of communication described in subsection (b) must state the name of:
        (1) each member who was physically present at the place where the meeting was conducted;
        (2) each member who participated in the meeting by using a means of communication described in subsection (b); and
        (3) each member who was absent.
As added by P.L.134-2012, SEC.11.

IC 5-14-1.5-3.6
Electronic meetings of state agencies and charter schools
    
Sec. 3.6. (a) This section applies only to a governing body of a charter school (as defined in IC 20-24-1-4) and a public agency of the state, including a body corporate and politic established as an instrumentality of the state.
    (b) A member of the governing body of a charter school or public agency who is not physically present at a meeting of the governing body may participate in a meeting of the governing body by electronic communication only if the member uses a means of communication that permits:
        (1) the member;
        (2) all other members participating in the meeting;
        (3) all members of the public physically present at the place where the meeting is conducted; and
        (4) if the meeting is conducted under a policy adopted under subsection (g)(7), all members of the public physically present at a public location at which a member participates by means of electronic communication;
to simultaneously communicate with each other during the meeting.
    (c) The governing body must fulfill both of the following requirements for a member of the governing body to participate in a meeting by electronic communication:
        (1) This subdivision does not apply to committees appointed by a board of trustees of a state educational institution, by the commission for higher education, or by the board of directors of the Indiana secondary market for education loans, as established, incorporated, and designated under IC 21-16-5-1. The minimum number of members who must be physically present at the place where the meeting is conducted must be the greater of:
            (A) two (2) of the members; or
            (B) one-third (1/3) of the members.
        (2) All votes of the governing body during the electronic meeting must be taken by roll call vote.
Nothing in this section affects the public's right under this chapter to attend a meeting of the governing body at the place where the

meeting is conducted and the minimum number of members is physically present as provided for in subdivision (1).
    (d) Each member of the governing body is required to physically attend at least one (1) meeting of the governing body annually.
    (e) Unless a policy adopted by a governing body under subsection (g) provides otherwise, a member who participates in a meeting by electronic communication:
        (1) is considered to be present at the meeting;
        (2) shall be counted for purposes of establishing a quorum; and
        (3) may vote at the meeting.
    (f) A governing body may not conduct meetings using a means of electronic communication until the governing body:
        (1) meets all requirements of this chapter; and
        (2) by a favorable vote of a majority of the members of the governing body, adopts a policy under subsection (g) governing participation in meetings of the governing body by electronic communication.
    (g) A policy adopted by a governing body to govern participation in the governing body's meetings by electronic communication may do any of the following:
        (1) Require a member to request authorization to participate in a meeting of the governing body by electronic communication within a certain number of days before the meeting to allow for arrangements to be made for the member's participation by electronic communication.
        (2) Subject to subsection (e), limit the number of members who may participate in any one (1) meeting by electronic communication.
        (3) Limit the total number of meetings that the governing body may conduct in a calendar year by electronic communication.
        (4) Limit the number of meetings in a calendar year in which any one (1) member of the governing body may participate by electronic communication.
        (5) Provide that a member who participates in a meeting by electronic communication may not cast the deciding vote on any official action.
        (6) Require a member participating in a meeting by electronic communication to confirm in writing the votes cast by the member during the meeting within a certain number of days after the date of the meeting.
        (7) Provide that in addition to the location where a meeting is conducted, the public may also attend some or all meetings of the governing body, excluding executive sessions, at a public place or public places at which a member is physically present and participates by electronic communication. If the governing body's policy includes this provision, a meeting notice must provide the following information:
            (A) The identity of each member who will be physically present at a public place and participate in the meeting by electronic communication.


            (B) The address and telephone number of each public place where a member will be physically present and participate by electronic communication.
            (C) Unless the meeting is an executive session, a statement that a location described in clause (B) will be open and accessible to the public.
        (8) Require at least a quorum of members to be physically present at the location where the meeting is conducted.
        (9) Provide that a member participating by electronic communication may vote on official action only if, subject to subsection (e), a specified number of members:
            (A) are physically present at the location where the meeting is conducted; and
            (B) concur in the official action.
        (10) Establish any other procedures, limitations, or conditions that govern participation in meetings of the governing body by electronic communication and are not in conflict with this chapter.
    (h) The policy adopted by the governing body must be posted on the Internet web site of the governing body, the charter school, or the public agency.
    (i) Nothing in this section affects a public agency's or charter school's right to exclude the public from an executive session in which a member participates by electronic communication.
As added by P.L.134-2012, SEC.12. Amended by P.L.62-2013, SEC.1; P.L.132-2013, SEC.1; P.L.280-2013, SEC.4.

IC 5-14-1.5-4
Posting agenda; memoranda of meetings; public inspection of minutes
    
Sec. 4. (a) A governing body of a public agency utilizing an agenda shall post a copy of the agenda at the entrance to the location of the meeting prior to the meeting. A rule, regulation, ordinance, or other final action adopted by reference to agenda number or item alone is void.
    (b) As the meeting progresses, the following memoranda shall be kept:
        (1) The date, time, and place of the meeting.
        (2) The members of the governing body recorded as either present or absent.
        (3) The general substance of all matters proposed, discussed, or decided.
        (4) A record of all votes taken by individual members if there is a roll call.
        (5) Any additional information required under section 3.5 or 3.6 of this chapter or any other statute that authorizes a governing body to conduct a meeting using an electronic means of communication.
    (c) The memoranda are to be available within a reasonable period of time after the meeting for the purpose of informing the public of

the governing body's proceedings. The minutes, if any, are to be open for public inspection and copying.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.38-1988, SEC.7; P.L.76-1995, SEC.1; P.L.2-2007, SEC.99; P.L.134-2012, SEC.13.

IC 5-14-1.5-5
Public notice of meetings
    
Sec. 5. (a) Public notice of the date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions, or of any rescheduled or reconvened meeting, shall be given at least forty-eight (48) hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) before the meeting. This requirement does not apply to reconvened meetings (not including executive sessions) where announcement of the date, time, and place of the reconvened meeting is made at the original meeting and recorded in the memoranda and minutes thereof, and there is no change in the agenda.
    (b) Public notice shall be given by the governing body of a public agency as follows:
        (1) The governing body of a public agency shall give public notice by posting a copy of the notice at the principal office of the public agency holding the meeting or, if no such office exists, at the building where the meeting is to be held.
        (2) The governing body of a public agency shall give public notice by delivering notice to all news media which deliver an annual written request for the notices not later than December 31 for the next succeeding calendar year to the governing body of the public agency. The governing body shall give notice by one (1) of the following methods, which shall be determined by the governing body:
            (A) Depositing the notice in the United States mail with postage prepaid.
            (B) Transmitting the notice by electronic mail, if the public agency has the capacity to transmit electronic mail.
            (C) Transmitting the notice by facsimile (fax).
        (3) This subdivision applies only to the governing body of a public agency of a political subdivision described in section 2(a)(2), 2(a)(4), or 2(a)(5) of this chapter that adopts a policy to provide notice under this subdivision. Notice under this subsection is in addition to providing notice under subdivisions (1) and (2). If the governing body adopts a policy under this subdivision, the governing body of a public agency shall give public notice by delivering notice to any person (other than news media) who delivers to the governing body of the public agency an annual written request for the notices not later than December 31 for the next succeeding calendar year. The governing body shall give notice by one (1) of the following methods, which shall be determined by the governing body:
            (A) Transmitting the notice by electronic mail, if the public agency has the capacity to send electronic mail.


            (B) Publishing the notice on the public agency's Internet web site at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting, if the public agency has an Internet web site.
A court may not declare void any policy, decision, or final action under section 7 of this chapter based on a failure to give a person notice under subdivision (3) if the public agency made a good faith effort to comply with subdivision (3). If a governing body comes into existence after December 31, it shall comply with this subsection upon receipt of a written request for notice. In addition, a state agency (as defined in IC 4-13-1-1) shall provide electronic access to the notice through the computer gateway administered by the office of technology established by IC 4-13.1-2-1.
    (c) Notice of regular meetings need be given only once each year, except that an additional notice shall be given where the date, time, or place of a regular meeting or meetings is changed. This subsection does not apply to executive sessions.
    (d) If a meeting is called to deal with an emergency involving actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of the governmental activity under the jurisdiction of the public agency by any event, then the time requirements of notice under this section shall not apply, but:
        (1) news media which have requested notice of meetings under subsection (b)(2) must be given the same notice as is given to the members of the governing body; and
        (2) the public must be notified by posting a copy of the notice according to subsection (b)(1).
    (e) This section shall not apply where notice by publication is required by statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation.
    (f) This section shall not apply to:
        (1) the department of local government finance, the Indiana board of tax review, or any other governing body which meets in continuous session, except that this section applies to meetings of these governing bodies which are required by or held pursuant to statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation; or
        (2) the executive of a county or the legislative body of a town if the meetings are held solely to receive information or recommendations in order to carry out administrative functions, to carry out administrative functions, or confer with staff members on matters relating to the internal management of the unit. "Administrative functions" do not include the awarding of contracts, the entering into contracts, or any other action creating an obligation or otherwise binding a county or town.
    (g) This section does not apply to the general assembly.
    (h) Notice has not been given in accordance with this section if a governing body of a public agency convenes a meeting at a time so unreasonably departing from the time stated in its public notice that the public is misled or substantially deprived of the opportunity to attend, observe, and record the meeting.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.2; P.L.67-1987, SEC.3; P.L.8-1989, SEC.22;

P.L.3-1989, SEC.29; P.L.46-1990, SEC.1; P.L.251-1999, SEC.4; P.L.90-2002, SEC.17; P.L.200-2003, SEC.1; P.L.177-2005, SEC.14; P.L.134-2012, SEC.14.

IC 5-14-1.5-6
Repealed
    
(Repealed by P.L.1-1991, SEC.36 and P.L.10-1991, SEC.10.)

IC 5-14-1.5-6.1
Executive sessions
    
Sec. 6.1. (a) As used in this section, "public official" means a person:
        (1) who is a member of a governing body of a public agency; or
        (2) whose tenure and compensation are fixed by law and who executes an oath.
    (b) Executive sessions may be held only in the following instances:
        (1) Where authorized by federal or state statute.
        (2) For discussion of strategy with respect to any of the following:
            (A) Collective bargaining.
            (B) Initiation of litigation or litigation that is either pending or has been threatened specifically in writing. As used in this clause, "litigation" includes any judicial action or administrative law proceeding under federal or state law.
            (C) The implementation of security systems.
            (D) The purchase or lease of real property by the governing body up to the time a contract or option to purchase or lease is executed by the parties.
            (E) School consolidation.
        However, all such strategy discussions must be necessary for competitive or bargaining reasons and may not include competitive or bargaining adversaries.
        (3) For discussion of the assessment, design, and implementation of school safety and security measures, plans, and systems.
        (4) Interviews and negotiations with industrial or commercial prospects or agents of industrial or commercial prospects by the Indiana economic development corporation, the office of tourism development, the Indiana finance authority, the ports of Indiana, an economic development commission, the Indiana state department of agriculture, a local economic development organization (as defined in IC 5-28-11-2(3)), or a governing body of a political subdivision.
        (5) To receive information about and interview prospective employees.
        (6) With respect to any individual over whom the governing body has jurisdiction:
            (A) to receive information concerning the individual's alleged misconduct; and


            (B) to discuss, before a determination, the individual's status as an employee, a student, or an independent contractor who is:
                (i) a physician; or
                (ii) a school bus driver.
        (7) For discussion of records classified as confidential by state or federal statute.
        (8) To discuss before a placement decision an individual student's abilities, past performance, behavior, and needs.
        (9) To discuss a job performance evaluation of individual employees. This subdivision does not apply to a discussion of the salary, compensation, or benefits of employees during a budget process.
        (10) When considering the appointment of a public official, to do the following:
            (A) Develop a list of prospective appointees.
            (B) Consider applications.
            (C) Make one (1) initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration.
        Notwithstanding IC 5-14-3-4(b)(12), a governing body may release and shall make available for inspection and copying in accordance with IC 5-14-3-3 identifying information concerning prospective appointees not initially excluded from further consideration. An initial exclusion of prospective appointees from further consideration may not reduce the number of prospective appointees to fewer than three (3) unless there are fewer than three (3) prospective appointees. Interviews of prospective appointees must be conducted at a meeting that is open to the public.
        (11) To train school board members with an outside consultant about the performance of the role of the members as public officials.
        (12) To prepare or score examinations used in issuing licenses, certificates, permits, or registrations under IC 25.
        (13) To discuss information and intelligence intended to prevent, mitigate, or respond to the threat of terrorism.
        (14) To train members of a board of aviation commissioners appointed under IC 8-22-2 or members of an airport authority board appointed under IC 8-22-3 with an outside consultant about the performance of the role of the members as public officials. A board may hold not more than one (1) executive session per calendar year under this subdivision.
    (c) A final action must be taken at a meeting open to the public.
    (d) Public notice of executive sessions must state the subject matter by specific reference to the enumerated instance or instances for which executive sessions may be held under subsection (b). The requirements stated in section 4 of this chapter for memoranda and minutes being made available to the public is modified as to executive sessions in that the memoranda and minutes must identify the subject matter considered by specific reference to the enumerated

instance or instances for which public notice was given. The governing body shall certify by a statement in the memoranda and minutes of the governing body that no subject matter was discussed in the executive session other than the subject matter specified in the public notice.
    (e) A governing body may not conduct an executive session during a meeting, except as otherwise permitted by applicable statute. A meeting may not be recessed and reconvened with the intent of circumventing this subsection.
As added by P.L.1-1991, SEC.37 and P.L.10-1991, SEC.8. Amended by P.L.48-1991, SEC.1; P.L.37-2000, SEC.1; P.L.200-2003, SEC.2; P.L.4-2005, SEC.28; P.L.229-2005, SEC.2; P.L.235-2005, SEC.84; P.L.101-2006, SEC.3; P.L.179-2007, SEC.5; P.L.2-2008, SEC.20; P.L.98-2008, SEC.3; P.L.120-2008, SEC.1; P.L.139-2011, SEC.1; P.L.24-2012, SEC.1; P.L.103-2013, SEC.2.

IC 5-14-1.5-6.5
Collective bargaining meetings; applicable requirements
    
Sec. 6.5. (a) Whenever a governing body, or any person authorized to act for a governing body, meets with an employee organization, or any person authorized to act for an employee organization, for the purpose of collective bargaining or discussion, the following apply:
        (1) Any party may inform the public of the status of collective bargaining or discussion as it progresses by release of factual information and expression of opinion based upon factual information.
        (2) If a mediator is appointed, any report the mediator may file at the conclusion of mediation is a public record open to public inspection.
        (3) If a factfinder is appointed, any hearings the factfinder holds must be open at all times for the purpose of permitting members of the public to observe and record them. Any findings and recommendations the factfinder makes are public records open to public inspection as provided by any applicable statute relating to factfinding in connection with public collective bargaining.
    (b) This section supplements and does not limit any other provision of this chapter.
As added by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.4. Amended by P.L.67-1987, SEC.5; P.L.1-2005, SEC.80; P.L.48-2011, SEC.1.

IC 5-14-1.5-7
Violations; remedies; limitations; costs and fees
    
Sec. 7. (a) An action may be filed by any person in any court of competent jurisdiction to:
        (1) obtain a declaratory judgment;
        (2) enjoin continuing, threatened, or future violations of this chapter; or
        (3) declare void any policy, decision, or final action:


            (A) taken at an executive session in violation of section 3(a) of this chapter;
            (B) taken at any meeting of which notice is not given in accordance with section 5 of this chapter;
            (C) that is based in whole or in part upon official action taken at any:
                (i) executive session in violation of section 3(a) of this chapter;
                (ii) meeting of which notice is not given in accordance with section 5 of this chapter; or
                (iii) series of gatherings in violation of section 3.1 of this chapter; or
            (D) taken at a meeting held in a location in violation of section 8 of this chapter.
The plaintiff need not allege or prove special damage different from that suffered by the public at large.
    (b) Regardless of whether a formal complaint or an informal inquiry is pending before the public access counselor, any action to declare any policy, decision, or final action of a governing body void, or to enter an injunction which would invalidate any policy, decision, or final action of a governing body, based on violation of this chapter occurring before the action is commenced, shall be commenced:
        (1) prior to the delivery of any warrants, notes, bonds, or obligations if the relief sought would have the effect, if granted, of invalidating the notes, bonds, or obligations; or
        (2) with respect to any other subject matter, within thirty (30) days of either:
            (A) the date of the act or failure to act complained of; or
            (B) the date that the plaintiff knew or should have known that the act or failure to act complained of had occurred;
whichever is later. If the challenged policy, decision, or final action is recorded in the memoranda or minutes of a governing body, a plaintiff is considered to have known that the act or failure to act complained of had occurred not later than the date that the memoranda or minutes are first available for public inspection.
    (c) If a court finds that a governing body of a public agency has violated this chapter, it may not find that the violation was cured by the governing body by only having taken final action at a meeting that complies with this chapter.
    (d) In determining whether to declare any policy, decision, or final action void, a court shall consider the following factors among other relevant factors:
        (1) The extent to which the violation:
            (A) affected the substance of the policy, decision, or final action;
            (B) denied or impaired access to any meetings that the public had a right to observe and record; and
            (C) prevented or impaired public knowledge or understanding of the public's business.
        (2) Whether voiding of the policy, decision, or final action is a

necessary prerequisite to a substantial reconsideration of the subject matter.
        (3) Whether the public interest will be served by voiding the policy, decision, or final action by determining which of the following factors outweighs the other:
            (A) The remedial benefits gained by effectuating the public policy of the state declared in section 1 of this chapter.
            (B) The prejudice likely to accrue to the public if the policy, decision, or final action is voided, including the extent to which persons have relied upon the validity of the challenged action and the effect declaring the challenged action void would have on them.
        (4) Whether the defendant acted in compliance with an informal inquiry response or advisory opinion issued by the public access counselor concerning the violation.
    (e) If a court declares a policy, decision, or final action of a governing body of a public agency void, the court may enjoin the governing body from subsequently acting upon the subject matter of the voided act until it has been given substantial reconsideration at a meeting or meetings that comply with this chapter.
    (f) In any action filed under this section, a court shall award reasonable attorney's fees, court costs, and other reasonable expenses of litigation to the prevailing party if:
        (1) the plaintiff prevails; or
        (2) the defendant prevails and the court finds that the action is frivolous and vexatious.
The plaintiff is not eligible for the awarding of attorney's fees, court costs, and other reasonable expenses if the plaintiff filed the action without first seeking and receiving an informal inquiry response or advisory opinion from the public access counselor, unless the plaintiff can show the filing of the action was necessary to prevent a violation of this chapter.
    (g) A court may assess a civil penalty under section 7.5 of this chapter only if the plaintiff obtained an advisory opinion from the public access counselor before filing an action under this section as set forth in section 7.5 of this chapter.
    (h) A court shall expedite the hearing of an action filed under this section.
As added by Acts 1977, P.L.57, SEC.1. Amended by Acts 1979, P.L.39, SEC.5; P.L.67-1987, SEC.6; P.L.38-1992, SEC.1; P.L.70-1999, SEC.1 and P.L.191-1999, SEC.1; P.L.179-2007, SEC.6; P.L.134-2012, SEC.15.

IC 5-14-1.5-7.5
Civil penalties imposed on public agency, officer, or management level employee
    
Sec. 7.5. (a) This section applies only to an individual who is:
        (1) an officer of a public agency; or
        (2) employed in a management level position with a public agency.


    (b) If an individual with the specific intent to violate the law fails to perform a duty imposed on the individual under this chapter by:
        (1) failing to give proper notice of a regular meeting, special meeting, or executive session;
        (2) taking final action outside a regular meeting or special meeting;
        (3) participating in a secret ballot during a meeting;
        (4) discussing in an executive session subjects not eligible for discussion in an executive session;
        (5) failing to prepare a memorandum of a meeting as required by section 4 of this chapter; or
        (6) participating in at least one (1) gathering of a series of gatherings under section 3.1 of this chapter;
the individual and the public agency are subject to a civil penalty under subsection (f).
    (c) A civil penalty may only be imposed as part of an action filed under section 7 of this chapter. A court may not impose a civil penalty under this section unless the public access counselor has issued an advisory opinion:
        (1) to the complainant and the public agency;
        (2) that finds that the individual or public agency violated this chapter; and
        (3) before the action under section 7 of this chapter is filed.
Nothing in this section prevents both the complainant and the public agency from requesting an advisory opinion from the public access counselor.
    (d) It is a defense to the imposition of a civil penalty under this section that the individual failed to perform a duty under subsection (b) in reliance on either of the following:
        (1) An opinion of the public agency's legal counsel.
        (2) An opinion of the attorney general.
    (e) Except as provided in subsection (i), in an action filed under section 7 of this chapter, a court may impose a civil penalty against one (1) or more of the following:
        (1) The individual named as a defendant in the action.
        (2) The public agency named as a defendant in the action.
    (f) The court may impose against each defendant listed in subsection (c) the following civil penalties:
        (1) Not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for the first violation.
        (2) Not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each additional violation.
A civil penalty imposed under this section is in addition to any other civil or criminal penalty imposed. However, in any one (1) action brought under section 7 of this chapter, a court may impose only one (1) civil penalty against an individual, even if the court finds that the individual committed multiple violations. This subsection does not preclude a court from imposing another civil penalty against an individual in a separate action, but an individual may not be assessed more than one (1) civil penalty in any one (1) action brought under

this section.
    (g) A court shall distribute monthly to the auditor of state any penalties collected under this section for deposit in the education fund established by IC 5-14-4-14.
    (h) An individual is personally liable for a civil penalty imposed on the individual under this section. A civil penalty imposed against a public agency under this section shall be paid from the public agency's budget.
    (i) If an officer of a public agency directs an individual who is employed in a management level position to fail to give proper notice as described in subsection (b)(1), the management level employee is not subject to civil penalties under subsection (f).
As added by P.L.134-2012, SEC.16.

IC 5-14-1.5-8
Accessibility to individuals with disabilities
    
Sec. 8. (a) This section applies only to the following public agencies:
        (1) A public agency described in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter.
        (2) A public agency:
            (A) described in section 2(a)(5) of this chapter; and
            (B) created to advise the governing body of a public agency described in section 2(a)(1) of this chapter.
    (b) As used in this section, "accessible" means the design, construction, or alteration of facilities in conformance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (41 C.F.R. 101-19.6, App. A (1991)) or with the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (56 Fed. Reg. 35605 (1991)).
    (c) As used in this section, "individual with a disability" means an individual who has a temporary or permanent physical disability.
    (d) A public agency may not hold a meeting at a location that is not accessible to an individual with a disability.
As added by P.L.38-1992, SEC.2.