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N.D. AG: Higher ed board's violations of open meeting laws 'pervasive'

BISMARCK - The State Board of Higher Education's violations of open meeting laws are "pervasive," Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Friday in a written opinion that also found the board didn't comply with the law during a March 6 dinner meeting and in several email exchanges this year.

"There is evidence that some Board members have a good faith desire to comply with the open meetings law but are unaware of the breadth of the statutes," he wrote. "There is sufficient reason to conclude that for some members failure to comply may be intentional. In either case, it is obvious there is a need for thorough instruction on the open meeting laws."

Stenehjem's written opinion requires the board to set up a comprehensive training seminar to be conducted with his office within the next two months. Additionally, the board must create minutes for two past meetings and "scour" email exchanges to find other instances of a quorum of members discussing official business through emails - which also constitute separate violations of the open meeting laws.