65 Op. Att'y Gen. 162 (1976)
65 OAG 162  163

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions


26 August 1976

Open Meetings;

Boards of review cannot rely on exemptions
in Open Meeting Law, Section 19.85 (1),
to close any meeting in view of explicit
requirements in Section 70.47 (2m), Stats.

City Attorney, City of Wausau

Pursuant to Section 19.98, Stats.,
you request my advice whether a board
of review may meet in closed session in
reliance upon the exemption provided in
Section 19.85(1)(a), Stats., to deliberate,
discuss or otherwise act with respect to a
hearing conducted before such body.

It is my opinion that it cannot.

Section 19.85(1)(a), Stats., provides that a
governmental body, may, after proper notice
or announcement and majority vote, convene
in closed session for the purpose of:

19.85(1)(a)  Deliberating after any
             judicial or quasi-judicial
             trial or hearing.

Boards of review do conduct hearings
under provisions of Section 70.47(8)
and Section 70.47(10), Stats.

The new Open Meeting Law, Sections
19.81-19.98, Stats., became
effective July 2, 1976.

However, an exemption substantially similar
to Section 19.85(1)(a), Stats, was contained
in former Section 66.77, Stats.

The legislature is presumed to have had
knowledge of such exemption when it enacted
Chapter 151, Laws of 1975, effective
January 17, 1976, which created
Section 70.47(2m), Stats., to provide:

65 OAG 162  163

70.47(2m) OPEN MEETINGS.

          All meetings of the board of review
          shall be publicly held and open to
          all citizens at all times.

          No formal action of any kind shall
          be introduced, deliberated upon or
          adopted at any closed session or
          meeting of a board of review.

Boards of review must comply with
the more specific statute.

65 OAG 162  163