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Open Government Act

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CHAPTER 8
OPEN GOVERNMENT LAW
§ 8101. Citation.
§ 8102. Policy.
§ 8103. Open Meetings.
§ 8104. Definitions.
§ 8105. Exception.
§ 8106. Regular Meetings.
§ 8107. Notices.
§ 8108. Special Meeting.
§ 8109. Adjournments.
§ 8110. Same.
§ 8111. Executive Session s.
§ 8112. Disturbances.
§ 8113. Minutes.
§ 8114. Act
ion Voided.
§ 8115. Penalties and Court Jurisdiction.
§ 8116. Severability.
§ 8101. Citation.
This Chapter may be cited as the Open Government Law of
Guam.
SOURCE:
GC § 3225 added by P.L. 13-35.
A.G. OPINION 77 -47:
The Open Government Law applies to the elected school
board.
§ 8102. Policy.
The Legislature declares it is the policy of this Territory that the
for
ma
tion of public policy and decisions is public and shall not be
conducted in secret. The people of Guam do not yield their individual
rights to the public 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 kno w. The
people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over
the instruments they have created.
SOURCE:
GC § 3226 added by P.L. 13 -35.

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§ 8103. Open Meetings.
(a) Every meeting of a public agency shall be open and public,
and any perso n sha
ll be per
mitted to attend any public agency meeting
ex
cept as otherwise provided in this Chapter. A member of the public
shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of public
agency, to register his name and other information, to complete a
questionnaire or otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his
attendance.
(b) This Chapter does not require that a person who is admitted to a
meeting of a public agency shall, because of his mere presence, b
e
accorded an opportunity to p articipate in such a meeting. Each public
agency retains the right to reserve areas for the public and to exclude the
public from any area necessary for the orderly conduct of its business.
SOURCE:
GC § 3227 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8104. Definitions.
(a) ( 1) Public agency

includes any board, commission or
comparable unit of government, any of whose members are elected,
appointed by I Maga’lahen Guåhan or appointed by I Liheslatura ;
any non -profit corporation created by one (1) or more public
agencies or I Liheslatura,
and whose board of directors is appointed
by such public agencies or by I Maga’lahen Guåhan or I
Liheslatura,
and which is for
med to acquire, construct, reconstruct,
ma
intain or operate any public work project, or any board,
commission, commit tee or other body on which officers of a public
agency serve in their official capacity as members and which is
supported in whole or in part by funds provided by such agency,
whether such board, commission, committee or other body is
organized and operate d by such local agency or by a private
corporation.
(2) Public agency
al
so includes any advisory commission,
advisory committee or advisory body of a public agency, created by
law, resolution or any similar formal action of a public agency.
(3) The Legisla ture
is a public agency
when it is holding a
daily session but meetings of political caucuses composed of
members of the Legislature are not required to be conducted in
public.

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(4) A Committee of a Legislature
is a public agency
when it is
holding a hearin g but committee meetings other than hearings are
not required to be conducted in public.
(5)(i) Public Notice , as used in this Chapter, means a
publication by newspaper of general circulation or by radio or
television which is reasonably calculated to prov ide notice of
the facts it announces to the public at large.
(ii) As used in this item, newspaper of general circulation
mea
ns a newspaper which is printed and distributed not less
than once a week, at regular intervals, throughout the territory
of Guam, w hich has a paid circulation and holds a valid second
class mailing permit from the United States Post Office, and
which contains news, articles of opinion, features, and other
ma
tte
rs of current interest published for public dissemination.
(b) Meeting
mean s the convening of a governing body of a public
agency for which a quorum is required in order to make a decision or to
deliberate toward a decision on any matter. Meeting does not include any
on -site inspection of any project or program.
(c) Action
taken mea
ns a collective decision made by a majority of
the members of a public agency, a collective commitment or promise by
a m
ajority of the members of a public agency to make a positive or a
negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members o f a
public agency when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal,
re
solution or order.
SOURCE:
GC § 3228 added by P.L. 13-35; sub -item (a)(5) added by P.L. 15 -86:1.
Sub -item (a)(1) amended by P.L. 27 -93:1.
A.G. OPINION GHPDA 92 -1244:
Although t he foregoing [subsection c] is
merely a definition and not substantive law, it seems unlikely that the Legislature
would allow circumvention of the Open Government Law by not addressing action
taken by less than a majority. Therefore, it is our conclusion
that the Legislature
intended that action taken by boards be by a majority of the body.
CROSS -REFERENCES:

P.L. 27 -18:2 added the following to the coverage of
this Chapter:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Guam Economic
Development and Comm erce Authority shall be subject to the Freedom
of In
formation Law and the Sunshine Information Act of 1999, 5 GCA
Chapter 10, and the Open Government Law, 5 GCA Chapter 8.

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§ 8105. Exception.
A chance meeting of two or more members of a public agency
shal l not be considered a public meeting. No chance meeting, informal
assemblage or electronic communication shall be used to decide or
deliberate public business in circumvention of the spirit or requirements
of this Chapter.
SOURCE:
GC § 3229 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8106. Regular Meetings.
A public agency shall provide by appropriate administrative
action rules to govern the conduct of its business. Such rules shall
provide for the time for holding an agency’s regular meetings. If at any
time a regular meeti ng falls on a holiday, such regular meeting shall be
held on the next business day unless continued until some other publicly
announced date by action of the agency. If, by reason of an emergency, it
shall be unsafe to meet at the time designated, the meet ings ma
y be held
for the duration of the emer
gency at such other time as is designated by
the presiding officer of the public agency.
SOURCE:
GC § 3230 added by P.L. 13 -35.
§ 8107. Notices:
(a) Notice of Regular Meetings. Any public agency which holds
a meet
ing required by statute, regulation or resolution, shall give five (5)
working days public notice, and a second public notice at least forty –
eight (48) hours prior to the start of the meeting. The public agency must
comply with the Title II of the Amer icans with Disabilities Act ( >ADA’)
requirements for effective communication for people with disabilities
and include information in the notice that individuals requiring special
accommodations, auxiliary aids or services shall contact and submit their
req ue
st to the designated agency or department representative or ADA
Coor
dinator. The public agency shall make available the name, office
addr
ess and telephone number, including Telecommunications Device
for the Deaf ( >TDD’), of the designated ADA Coordinator .
(b) Notice of Special Meetings. Any public agency which holds a
meeting not previously scheduled by statute, regulation or resolution, or
for which notice is not alr
eady provided by law, shall give five (5)
working days public notice of such meeting, and
a second notice at least
forty -eight (48) hours, prior to the start of such meeting as required by

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this Chapter. The public agency must comply with the Title II of the
ADA requirements for effective communication for people with
disabilities and include i nfor
ma
tion in the notice that individuals
requiring special accommodations, auxiliary aids or services shall
contact and submit their request to the designated agency or department
re
presentative or ADA Coordinator. The public agency shall make
available t he na
me, office addr
ess and telephone number, including
TDD, of the designated ADA Coordinator.
(c) The notice requirements of this Chapter are in addition to and
not in substitution of any other notice required by law.
SOURCE:
GC § 3231 added by P.L. 13 -35. Subsections (a) and (b) amended by
P.L. 24 -109:1.
A.G. OPINION 78 -2:
Public notice of any time, place and agenda of any special
meeting must be given by delivery of such notice to the news media 24 -hours
before the beginning of the meeting. Emergencies are exempted from these
requirements.
A.G. OPINION DLM 93 -1724: The public notice of the October 28 meeting,
which showed an agenda item of a "status report" on a conditional use application
for the Bubulao Golf Course Project adequate notice so as to allo w approval of the
application by the Territorial Land Use Commission at that meeting, was not
adequate notice and therefore the action was void.
§ 8108. Special Meeting.
A special meeting may be called at any time by a public agency,
by delivering person ally, or by mail, written notice to each member of a
public agency. Notice shall also be given to each newspaper of general
circulation and broadcasting station which airs a regular local news
program within Guam. Such notice must be delivered personally o r by
ma
il at least five (5) working days, and a second public notice at least
forty -eight (48) hours, before the time of such meeting as specified in the
notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special
meeting and the business t o be transacted. No other business shall b
e
considered at such meetings by the public agency. The five (5) days
notice and the forty -eight (48) hours notice may be waived in the event
of a
n emer
gency certified to in writing by a public agency. A public
age ncy may also consider all necessary business in the event of an
emergency. This Section shall not require a public agency to give notice
of its meetings by paid advertisements in any newspaper or over any
broadcasting station. Written notice may be dispens ed wit
h as to any

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member who at, prior to or subsequent to the time the meeting convenes,
files with the clerk or secretary of the public agency a written waiver of
notice. Such written notice may be dispensed with as to any member who
is actually present at a meeting at the time it convenes.
SOURCE:
GC § 3232 added by P.L. 13 -35. Amended by P.L. 24 -109:2.
§ 8109. Adjournments.
A public agency may adjourn any regular, adjourned regular,
special or adjourned special meeting to a time and place specified in
the
order of adjournment. Less than a quorum may so adjourn from time to
time. If all members are absent from any regular or adjourned regular
meeting the clerk or secretary of the public agency may declare the
meeting adjourned to a stated time and place
and he shall cause a written
notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided in
§ 8108 for special meetings, unless such notice is waived as provided for
special meetings. A copy of the order or notice of adjournment shall be
conspicu ously posted on or near the door of the place where the regular,
adjourned regular, special or adjourned special meeting was held within
twenty -four (24) hours after the time of the adjournment. When a regular
or adjourned regular meeting is adjourned as p rovided in this Section, the
re
sulting adjourned regular meeting is a regular meeting for all purposes.
When a
n or
der of adjournment of any meeting fails to state the hour at
which the adjourned meeting is to be held it shall be held at the hour
specified for regular meetings.
SOURCE:
GC § 3233 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8110. Adjournment: Same.
Any hearing being held or noticed or ordered to be held by a
public agency at any meeting may by order or notice of continuance b
e
continued or recontinued by any sub sequent meeting of the public
agency in the same manner and to the same extent set forth in § 8109 for
the adjournment of meetings; provided, that if the hearing is continued to
a time less than twenty -four (24) hours after the time specified in the
order or notice of hearing, a copy of the order or notice of continuance of
hearing shall be posted immediately following the meeting at which the
order or declaration of continuance was adopted or made.
SOURCE:
GC § 3234 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8111. Executive S essions.

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(a) No public agency is prohibited because of this Chapter from
holding executive sessions with the Attorney General, Chief of Police or
the respective designated representatives of each on a matter which poses
a threat to the public health, saf et
y or welfare or from holding executive
sessions during a regular or special meeting to consider the appointment,
employment or dismissal of a public officer or employee or to hear
complaints or charges brought against such officer or employee by
another public officer, person or employee unless such officer or
employee requests a public hearing. Under no circumstances, however,
shall a public agency hold an executive or closed meeting to discuss
salaries, salary levels or salary adjustments of any employe e or officer.
All such discussions or decisions must be held in a public meeting and
minutes shall be kept and opened to the public. A public agency may
ex
clude from any public or private meeting, during the examination of a
witness, any or all other witne sse
s in the matter being investigated by the
public agency, but may not exclude a party, complainant or the subject of
an adverse action.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a public agency
ma
y hold executive sessions with its staff to consider
ma
tters with the
scope of the Public Employee -Management Relations Act.
(c) Under no circumstances shall a public agency hold an executive
or closed meeting to discuss legal matters, impending legal matters or
legal strategies with an attorney, except as her
ein provided below. All
such discussions must be held in a public meeting and minutes shall be
kept and opened to the public, except as herein provided:
(1) No such meeting may be closed except on the written
re
commendation of the attorney, and an affir ma
tive vote of a
ma
jority of the members of the Board of the Public Agency to go
into executive session.
(2) Only matters directly relating to ongoing litigation or
litigation which has been threatened as is reasonably expected ma
y
be discussed. Only the a ttorney(s), court reporter, board members,
and the Executive Director or managing officer of the agency may
attend such a meeting.
(3) A verbatim transcript by an authorized court reporter must
be taken of all meetings which are closed to discuss litigatio n or

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possible litigation and such transcript shall promptly be reduced to
writing.
(4) Notice of the meeting shall be given as required for any
ot
her meeting. The notice shall indicate the place and time of the
meeting, and shall indicate the general subje ct matter to be
discussed, (if not confidential) as well as the specific exemption
per
mitting an executive or closed meeting.
(5) After such meeting, the attorney or attorneys involved must
file an affidavit with the Agency, which shall be a public documen t,
that only matter relating to litigation or pending litigation have been
discussed.
(6) Ther
e sha
ll be public minutes made of all such executive
sessions indicating the existence of the transcript, the subject matter
of the meeting (if not confidential),
the names of all persons
attending the closed meeting, their capacities and the date and times
the meeting started and closed.
(7) The transcript of such meeting shall be sealed for a period
of six (6) months, and shall thereafter be a public document unl ess
ther
e is a court order, further sealing the transcript. Before issuing
such an or
der, the court must read the transcript in camera and
deter
mine that the Agency would be unduly prejudiced by the
re
lease of the transcript, taking into account the public ’s right to
know. In such event, the court may order the transcript released and
ma
de public, or may order the transcript sealed for a period not
ex
ceeding six (6) months only if there is ongoing litigation over the
ma
tte
rs discussed and release would prej udice the Agency, or if the
court finds there is a strong likelihood of litigation concerning the
subject matters within six (6) months. Unless the court orders
ot
herwise all transcripts concerning litigation or potential litigation
shall become public imm ediately upon the termination of litigation
or the threat of litigation. Under no circumstances may a matter
concerning litigation be sealed for more than three (3) months after
the conclusion of the litigation. In the case of expected litigation, all
such
transcripts cannot be sealed for more than one (1) year after the
closed hearing if no litigation results.

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(d) Under no circumstances shall a public agency vote on any matter
befor
e it during an executive or closed meeting. All voting must be held
in a p ublic meeting and minutes shall be kept and opened to the public.
SOURCE:
GC § 3235 enacted by P.L. 13 -35. R/R by P.L. 19-5:138. Subsection
(d) added by P.L. 25 -171:1.

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§ 8112. Disturbances.
In a
ny event that any person willfully interrupts a meeting of
a
public agency so that a meeting may not be conducted in an orderly
fashion and order cannot be restored by the removal of the person who is
wilfully interrupting the meeting, the members of the public agency
conducting the meeting may order the meeting room

cleared and
continue in session. Only matters appearing on the agenda may b
e
considered in such session. Duly accredited news reporters and
photographers shall be allowed to attend any session held pursuant to this
Section, provided that any such pers on who wilfully interrupts a meeting
of a public agency may be removed, in the same manner as any other
person.
SOURCE:
GC § 3236 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8113. Minutes.
The minutes of ever
y meeting of each public agency shall b
e
prom
ptly and fairly record ed, shall be open to public inspection and shall
include but not be limited to a record of all motions, proposals and
re
solutions offered, the results of any votes taken and a record of
individual votes in event of roll call. Insofar as it may do so withou t
violating § 8103 of this Chapter, an agency may also maintain a record of
persons present at a meeting.
SOURCE:
GC § 3237 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8114. Action Voided.
Any action taken at a meeting in violation of any Section of this
Chapter shall be void
and of no effect, provided that this nullification of
actions taken at such meetings shall not apply to any commitment,
ot
herwise legal, affecting the public debt of the entity concerned.
SOURCE:
GC § 3238 added by P.L. 13-35.
§ 8115. Penalties and Court Jurisdiction.
(a) The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction to enforce any
action brought as a result of a violation of this Chapter. Any person shall
have standing to sue for the enforcement of this Chapter.
(b) Each member of a public agency who atte nds a meeting of a
public agency where action is taken in violation of any provision of this

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Chapter, with knowledge of the fact that the meeting is in violation
ther
eof, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any inter
ested persons may commence an action by mand am
us,
injunction or declaratory relief for the purpose of stepping or preventing
a violation or threatened violation of this Chapter by members of an
agency or to determine the applicability of this Chapter to actions or
threatened future action of an agen cy.
(d) In each suit brought under the Chapter, the court shall file a
written Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law and final judgment
which shall also be recorded in the minutes of body involved.
(e
) The court shall permanently enjoin any person adjudg ed to have
violated this Chapter from further violating this Chapter. Each separate
action taken which is not in accordance with this Chapter shall constitute
a separate violation.
(f) The final judgment or decree in each suit shall state that the court
shall retain jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter for a period of
one (1) year from date of entry and the court shall order the defendants to
re
port in writing twice annually to the court of their compliance with this
Chapter.
SOURCE:
GC § 3239 added by P.L. 13 -35.
§ 8116. Severability.
If any provision of this Chapter or the application of any Section
ther
eof, to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the validity of the
remainder of said Chapter and the application of such provisions to other

persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
SOURCE:
GC § 3240 added by P.L. 13 -35.
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