Open Meeting Policy

Open Meeting Policy Committee for the Northwest Interstate Compact On Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management

I. Public Meetings

The formation of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low­-Level Radioactive Waste Management does not render the Committee subject to the open meeting laws of any specific member state. Nor is the Committee an agency of the United States, and thus the Committee is not subject to any federal open public meeting requirements. Recognizing that by statute and policy each of the party states has established requirements for conducting public business, the Committee will, to the extent applicable and not inconsistent with this policy, conduct its business in keeping with state laws. It is not possible, however, for the Committee to maintain a consistent policy and at the same time attempt to follow the open public meeting laws of all party states because those laws are often procedurally and substantively inconsistent with one another. Therefore, all Committee meetings shall be conducted in accordance with this policy. 

II. Notice of Meetings

Except to the extent that an emergency or urgent business requires otherwise, the staff shall provide at least fourteen (14) days advance notice of the time and place of each regular or special meeting of the Committee. Written advance notice of such meetings shall be mailed or otherwise transmitted to: (1) each member of the Committee; (2) those agencies at any level of government which have a direct interest in the Committee’s proceedings; (3) those persons whose names and addresses appear on the Committee’s current mailing list; and (4) any persons who have given reasonable advance notice that they would like to be informed when a particular meeting will occur, or when particular business will be conducted. In addition, whenever the Committee has a meeting in any of the party states, the Committee staff will (unless the urgency of the business dictates otherwise) notify the public of the time and place of the meeting and the business to be conducted in the same manner as notices are published in that state for meetings of state agencies which are subject to that state’s open public meeting law. 

III. Mailing List

The Committee staff will maintain a mailing list of all persons who have requested to be notified of Committee meetings. Notices will ordinarily be sent out by regular mail, although in urgent cases notices may be sent by express or priority mail, telephone, facsimile, or electronic means where feasible. A request to be notified of meetings may be denied if compliance would cause unreasonable and burdensome expense or expenditure of time to the Committee staff. 

IV. Regular and Special Meetings

Any meeting whose general time and location has been determined by the Committee more than thirty (30) days in advance shall be designated a general meeting. Any other meeting shall be designated a special meeting. At any regular meeting, the Committee may conduct any business which may lawfully come before it” At a special meeting, the Committee will ordinarily conduct business only as specified in the notice calling the meeting, unless the Committee by majority vote declares an emergency and determines otherwise. 

V. Conduct of Meetings

Except during executive sessions, any person may attend and observe the conduct of Committee meetings. Persons who disrupt Committee business or prevent the Committee from conducting business may be excluded from further attendance. Members of the public are generally not entitled to speak at Committee meetings except: (1) when specifically invited to do so by the chair or (2) during designated public comment times. To the extent practical, the Committee will conduct its business in such a way that those present can see and hear the business being conducted. 

VI. Meetings Conducted by Telephonic or Electronic Means

The Committee may conduct meetings with some or all members participating through telephone, video conferencing, or other electronic means. When a meeting is conducted in this manner, reasonable steps will be taken to ensure that the public can see and/or hear the business being conducted. 

VII. Executive Sessions

The Committee may conduct an executive session from time to time upon the affirmative vote of those members present and constituting a quorum to receive or send privileged communications, to discuss actual or threatened litigation with legal counsel, to discuss business whose premature public disclosure would adversely affect the economic or legal status of the Compact or one or more of its party states, or for other good cause, which shall be stated prior to a vote on holding an executive session and recorded in the official records of the meeting. All members of the Committee are entitled to attend executive sessions, along with such other persons as the Committee may determine. If minutes are kept of an executive session, they will be confidential and available only to those persons present at the session unless or until the Committee directs otherwise. 

VIII. Minutes and Recording

The Committee staff or some other designated person will prepare the official minutes of each meeting conducted by the Committee. The minutes will contain a note of the time and place of the meeting, the identity of the persons present and conducting business, and the nature of the business conducted at the meeting. The text of any policies, resolutions, regulations and motions adopted at a meeting will be included in the minutes or attached to them. After their approval by the Committee at a subsequent meeting, the minutes will constitute the official record of the proceedings of the Committee. The Committee may also electronically record its meetings, but neither the electronic recording nor any transcript prepared from it will constitute an official record of the Committee proceedings. The public may make sound or video recordings of the Committee’s open meetings, so long as the recording does not disrupt the proceedings. 

IX. Adjourned and Continued Meetings

If for any reason the business before the Committee cannot be completed during the time or at the place contemplated, the meeting may be continued or adjourned to another time and/or another place. To the extent feasible, staff will notify interested parties of the time and place to which the meeting has been adjourned. 

X. Petitions to Reconsider Business

Any person adversely affected by an action taken by the Committee at a meeting of which the person did not receive reasonable notice may petition the Committee to reconsider its action by writing specifying the action taken, and the actual or threatened harm the petitioner will suffer if the Committee does not reconsider. If such a petition is filed, the Committee may proceed to reconsider its action, either at a subsequent regular meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. Upon reconsideration, the Committee, as it deems appropriate, may rescind or modify its previous action or reaffirm it. The Committee may decline to reconsider action if it finds that the petitioner in fact had reasonable notice of the action to be taken or if the Committee finds that reconsideration would work a hardship, or that overriding reasons of public policy preclude further consideration.