Legal Hotline: Sunshine Act regular meeting notices

  • Jan 05, 2017

Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel

Q:  Does the Sunshine Act require agencies to provide a general meeting notice at the beginning of the year, and if so, what are the requirements?

A: Yes.  The Sunshine Act requires agencies to provide public notice of its regular meeting schedule.

Section 709 of the Act requires agencies to “give public notice of its first regular meeting of each calendar or fiscal year not less than three days in advance of the meeting and shall give public notice of the schedule of its remaining regular meetings.” 

The law requires the public notice to include the place, date and time of a meeting, and the notice must appear in a newspaper of general circulation.  The law also requires agencies to post a notice of the place, date and time of a meeting prominently at the principal office of the agency holding the meeting or at the public building in which the meeting is to be held. The initial notice of the regular meeting schedule must be published at least three days in advance of the agency’s first regularly scheduled meeting of the year. 

A typical meeting notice might look like this: “Borough Council will hold its first regular meeting at 7pm Thursday, January 12, 2017 at Borough Hall, 123 Main Street.  Regular meetings for the remainder of the calendar year will occur on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at Borough Hall.”

Special meetings, which are in addition to the regular schedule, require separate public notice in a newspaper of general circulation of the date, time and place of the meeting, and the public notice as must appear at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting. News articles, website posting, and other types of notice do not take the place of public notice ads required by law to appear in newspapers of general circulation. 

As always, this is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice.  Please consult your private attorney or the PNA Legal Hotline at (717) 703-3048 with questions.

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