Skip to Main Content

Trustee Support Resources

Board Meetings

This page focuses on the laws that impact library board meetings. Many general questions can be answered by consulting the in-depth resource, Open Government Resource Manual, which cites the laws and subsequent legal interpretations. Specific questions should be addressed to your library's legal counsel.

From the Open Government Resource Manual, Chapter 3:

"The Open Public Meetings Act ("OPMA"), chapter RCW 42.30, was passed by the legislature in 1971 as part of a nationwide effort to make government affairs more accessible and, in theory, more responsive. It was modeled on a California law known as the "Brown Act" and a similar Florida statute. The OPMA and the Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 RCW, create important and powerful tools enabling the people to inform themselves about their government, both state and local.

The Open Public Meetings Act, along with the Public Disclosure Act (now referred to as the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56), addressed requirements for state and local governmental units to conduct open public meetings and to provide public access to their records. The Public Disclosure Commission is responsible for providing information about the RCWs as well as ensuring compliance.

The following opening statement from RCW 42.30.010 demonstrates the clear intent of the law and the manner in which courts have interpreted the law:

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.