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N.D. Attorney General opinion: Feb. 24 Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem has issued an opinion that the Steele County Commission did not violate the law when it held a meeting in the locked courthouse building, because it provided contact information in the notice and on all the courthouse access doors for the public to call to gain access to attend the meeting.

The County Commission met in person at the Steele County Courthouse for a special meeting. Under the county’s Covid policy, the doors to the courthouse were locked, but all access doors had a public notice with the number provided for building access and Covid screening. The deputy county auditor arrived shortly before the meeting to let any members of the public into the meeting. One individual was waiting. By the time the individual had completed the Covid screening, the meeting had already been called to order. The county commission did not violate the open meeting law because the commission provided information through its notice and signs on the courthouse doors with the number for the public to contact to gain access to the courthouse and attend the meeting. The individual also requested a full recording of the meeting, which was provided the following day.

Link to opinion: