Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA)
What is OPMA?
The Open Public Meetings Act, popularly known as the "Sunshine Law," was approved on October 21, 1975, and became effective on January 19, 1976 (PL 1975, chapter 231). The Sunshine Law was enacted in response to growing public cynicism about politics and distrust of government in the wake of the Vietnam War and Watergate. The intent of the Sunshine Law was to have government meetings conducted in the open, to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the public interest and without invading individual privacy.
The Open Public Meetings Act Guide
Published by New Jersey State League of Municipalities, this guide provides the relating statute and provides a narrative to this section of statute. This guide is available for purchase through our form (PDF). The following is an excerpt from the guide:
"Definition of Public Body, Public Meeting New Jersey SA. 10:4-7: Legislative findings and declaration
The Legislature finds and declares that the right of the public to be present at all meetings of public bodies, and to witness in full detail all phases of the deliberation, policy formulation, and decision making of public bodies, is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process; that secrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society, and hereby declares it to be the public policy of this State to insure the right of its citizens to have adequate advance notice of and the right to attend all meetings of public bodies at which any business affecting the public is discussed or acted upon in any way except only in those circumstances where otherwise the public interest would be clearly endangered or the personal privacy or guaranteed rights of individuals would be clearly in danger of unwarranted invasion."
Open Public Records Act (OPRA) & OPMA Bills Amended
At their June 29, 2017 meeting, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee amended S-1045 (OPMA) (PDF), and S-1046 (OPRA) (PDF). The bills now await consideration by the full Senate. This blog post provides detailed information on the amendments. Posted on New Jersey State League of Municipalities blog, The Town Crier.