Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Help button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of October 27, 2020

Title 46Chapter IVSubchapter APart 503 → Subpart I


Title 46: Shipping
PART 503—PUBLIC INFORMATION


Subpart I—Public Observation of Federal Maritime Commission Meetings and Public Access to Information Pertaining to Commission Meetings


Contents
§503.70   Policy.
§503.71   Definitions.
§503.72   General rule—meetings.
§503.73   Exceptions—meetings.
§503.74   Procedures for closing a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings on agency initiated requests.
§503.75   Procedures for closing a portion of a meeting on request initiated by an interested person.
§503.76   Effect of vote to close a portion or portions of a meeting or series of meetings.
§503.77   Responsibilities of the General Counsel of the agency upon a request to close any portion of any meeting.
§503.78   General rule—information pertaining to meeting.
§503.79   Exceptions—information pertaining to meeting.
§503.80   Procedures for withholding information pertaining to meeting.
§503.81   Effect of vote to withhold information pertaining to meeting.
§503.82   Public announcement of agency meeting.
§503.83   Public announcement of changes in meeting.
§503.84   Nonpublic Collaborative Discussions.
§503.85   Agency recordkeeping requirements.
§503.86   Public access to records.
§503.87   Effect of provisions of this subpart on other subparts.

Source: 49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, unless otherwise noted. Redesignated at 79 FR 24351, Apr. 30, 2014

return arrow Back to Top

§503.70   Policy.

It is the policy of the Federal Maritime Commission, under the Provisions of the “Government in the Sunshine Act” (5 U.S.C. 552b, Sept. 13, 1976) to entitle the public to the fullest practicable information regarding the decisional processes of the Commission. The provisions of this subpart set forth the procedural requirements designed to provide the public with such information while continuing to protect the rights of individuals and to maintain the capabilities of the Commission in carrying out its responsibilities under the shipping statutes administered by this Commission.

return arrow Back to Top

§503.71   Definitions.

The following definitions apply for purposes of this subpart:

(a) Agency means the Federal Maritime Commission;

(b) Information pertaining to a meeting means, but is not limited to the following: the record of any agency vote taken under the provisions of this subpart, and the record of the vote of each member; a full written explanation of any agency action to close any portion of any meeting under this subpart; lists of persons expected to attend any meeting of the agency and their affiliation; public announcement by the agency under this subpart of the time, place, and subject matter of any meeting or portion of any meeting; announcement of whether any meeting or portion of any meeting shall be open to public observation or be closed; any announcement of any change regarding any meeting or portion of any meeting; and the name and telephone number of the Secretary of the agency who shall be designated by the agency to respond to requests for information concerning any meeting or portion of any meeting;

(c) Meeting means the deliberations of a majority of the members serving on the agency which determine or result in the joint conduct of or disposition of official agency business, but does not include:

(1) Individual member's consideration of official agency business circulated to the members in writing for disposition on notation;

(2) Deliberations by the agency in determining whether or not to close a portion or portions of a meeting or series of meetings as provided in §§503.74 and 503.75;

(3) Deliberations by the agency in determining whether or not to withhold from disclosure information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or series of meetings as provided in §503.80; or

(4) Deliberations pertaining to any change in any meeting or to changes in the public announcement of such a meeting as provided in §503.83;

(d) Member means each individual Commissioner of the agency;

(e) Person means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization, other than an agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 551(1));

(f) Series f meetings means more than one meeting involving the same particular matters and scheduled to be held no more than thirty (30) days after the initial meeting in such series.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 64 FR 23549, May 3, 1999]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.72   General rule—meetings.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in §§503.73, 503.74, 503.75, 503.76, and 503.84, every portion of every meeting and every portion of a series of meetings of the agency shall be open to public observation.

(b) The opening of a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings to public observation shall not be construed to include any participation by the public in any manner in the meeting. Such an attempted participation or participation shall be cause for removal of any person so engaged at the discretion of the presiding member of the agency.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 85 FR 9682, Feb. 20, 2020]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.73   Exceptions—meetings.

Except in a case where the agency finds that the public interest requires otherwise, the provisions of §503.72(a) shall not apply to any portion or portions of an agency meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings where the agency determined under the provisions of §503.74 or §503.75 that such portion or portions of such meeting or series of meetings is likely to:

(a) Disclose matters that are (1) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy and (2) in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(b) Relate solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of any agency;

(c) Disclose matters specifically exempted from disclosure by any statute other than 5 U.S.C. 552 (FOIA), provided that such statute (1) requires that the matter be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (2) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;

(d) Disclose trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(e) Involve accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(f) Disclose information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(g) Disclose investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, or information which, if written, would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such records or information would

(1) Interfere with enforcement proceedings,

(2) Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication,

(3) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,

(4) Disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source,

(5) Disclose investigative techniques and procedures, or

(6) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;

(h) Disclose information contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions;

(i) Disclose information, the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action unless the agency has already disclosed to the public the content or nature of its proposed action, or where the agency is required by law to make such disclosure on its own initiative prior to taking final agency action on such proposal; or

(j) Specifically concern the agency's issuance of a subpena, or the agency's participation in a civil action or proceeding, an action in a foreign court or international tribunal, or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct, or disposition by the agency of a particular case of formal agency adjudication pursuant to the procedures in 5 U.S.C. 554 or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.74   Procedures for closing a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings on agency initiated requests.

(a) Any member of the agency, the Managing Director or the General Counsel of the agency may request that any portion or portions of a series of meetings be closed to public observation for any of the reasons provided in §503.73 by submitting such request in writing to the Secretary of the agency in sufficient time to allow the Secretary to schedule a timely vote on the request pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Upon receipt of any request made under paragraph (a) of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall schedule a time at which the members of the agency shall vote upon the request, which vote shall take place not later then eight (8) days prior to the scheduled meeting of the agency.

(c) At the time the Secretary schedules a time for an agency vote as described in paragraph (b) of this section, he or she shall forward the request to the General Counsel of the agency who shall act upon such request as provided in §503.77.

(d) At the time schedule d by the Secretary as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the members of the agency, upon consideration of the request submitted under paragraph (a) of this section and consideration of the certified opinion of the General Counsel of the agency provided to the members under §503.77, shall vote upon that request. That vote shall determine whether or not any portion or portions of a meeting may be closed to public observation for any of the reasons provided in §503.73, and whether or not the public interest requires that the portion or portions of the meeting or meetings remain open, notwithstanding the applicability of any of the reasons provided in §503.73 permitting the closing of any meeting to public observation.

(e) In the case of a vote on a request under this section to close to public observation a portion or portions of a meeting, no such portion or portions of any meeting may be closed unless, by a vote on the issues described in paragraph (d) of this section, a majority of the entire membership of the agency shall vote to close such portion or portions of a meeting by recorded vote.

(f) In the case of a vote on a request under this section to close to public observation a portion or portions of a series of meetings as defined in §503.71, no such portion or portions of a series of meetings may be closed unless, by a vote on the issues described in paragraph (d) of this section, a majority of the entire membership of the agency shall vote to close such portion or portions of a series of meetings. A determination to close to public observation a portion or portions of a series of meetings may be accomplished by a single vote on each of the issues described in paragraph (d) of this section, provided that the vote of each member of the agency shall be recorded and the vote shall be cast by each member and not by proxy vote.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 55 FR 38330, Sept. 18, 1990]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.75   Procedures for closing a portion of a meeting on request initiated by an interested person.

(a) Any person as defined in §503.71, whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a meeting of the agency, may request that the agency close that portion of a meeting for the reason that matters in deliberation at that portion of the meeting are such that public disclosure of that portion of a meeting is likely to:

(1) Involve accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(2) Disclose information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; or

(3) Disclose investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, or information which if written would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such records or information would:

(i) Interfere with enforcement proceedings;

(ii) Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;

(iii) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(iv) Disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source;

(v) Disclose investigative techniques and procedures; or

(vi) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel.

(b) Any person described in paragraph (a) of this section who submits a request that a portion of a meeting be closed shall submit an original and 15 copies of that request to the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573, and shall state with particularity that portion of a meeting sought to be closed and the reasons therefor as described in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) Upon receipt of any request made under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall:

(1) Furnish a copy of the request to each member of the agency; and

(2) Furnish a copy of the request to the General Counsel of the agency.

(d) Upon receipt of a request made under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, any member of the agency may request agency action upon the request to close a portion of a meeting by notifying the Secretary of the agency of that request for agency action.

(e) Upon receipt of a request for agency action under paragraph (d) of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall schedule a time for an agency vote upon the request of the person whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a meeting, which vote shall take place prior to the scheduled meeting of the agency.

(f) At the time the Secretary receives a request for agency action and schedules a time for an agency vote as described in paragraph (e) of this section, the request of the person whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a meeting shall be forwarded to the General Counsel of the agency who shall act upon such request as provided in §503.77.

(g) At the time scheduled by the Secretary, as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, the members of the agency, upon consideration of the request of the person whose interests may be directly affected by a portion of a meeting submitted under paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, and consideration of the certified opinion of the General Counsel of the agency provided to the members under §503.77, shall vote upon that request. That vote shall determine whether or not any portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings may be closed to public observation for any of the reasons provided in paragraph (a) of this section, and whether or not the public interest requires that the portion or portions of the meeting or meetings remain open, notwithstanding the applicability of any of the reasons provided in paragraph (a) of this section permitting the closing of any portion of any meeting to public observation.

(h) In the case of a vote on a request under this section to close to public observation a portion of a meeting, no such portion of a meeting may be closed unless, by a vote on the issues described in paragraph (g) of this section, a majority of the entire membership of the agency shall vote to close such portion of a meeting by a recorded vote.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.76   Effect of vote to close a portion or portions of a meeting or series of meetings.

(a) Where the agency votes as provided in §503.74 or §503.75, to close to public observation a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings, the portion or portions of a meeting or the portion or portions of a series of meetings shall be closed.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in §§503.80, 503.81 and 503.82, not later than the day following the day on which a vote is taken under §503.74 or §503.75, by which it is determined to close a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings to public observation, the Secretary shall make available to the public:

(1) A written copy of the recorded vote reflecting the vote of each member of the agency;

(2) A full written explanation of the agency action closing that portion or those portions to public observation; and

(3) A list of the names and affiliations of all persons expected to attend the portion or portions of the meeting or the portion or portions of a series of meetings.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in §§503.80, 503.81 and 503.82, not later than the day following the day on which a vote is taken under §503.74, or §503.75, by which it is determined that the portion or portions of a meeting or the portion or portions of a series of meetings shall remain open to public observation, the Secretary shall make available to the public a written copy of the recorded vote reflecting the vote of each member of the agency.

return arrow Back to Top

§503.77   Responsibilities of the General Counsel of the agency upon a request to close any portion of any meeting.

(a) Upon any request that the agency close a portion or portions of any meeting or any portion or portions of any series of meetings under the provisions of §§503.74 and 503.75, the General Counsel of the agency shall certify in writing to the agency, prior to an agency vote on that request, whether or not in his or her opinion the closing of any such portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings is proper under the provisions of this subpart and the terms of the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b). If, in the opinion of the General Counsel, the closing of a portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings is proper under the provisions of this subpart and the terms of the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. 552b), his or her certification of that opinion shall cite each applicable, particular, exemptive provision of that Act and provision of this subpart.

(b) A copy of the certification of the General Counsel as described in paragraph (a) of this section, together with a statement of the officer presiding over the portion or portions of any meeting or the portion or portions of a series of meetings setting forth the time and place of the relevant meeting or meetings, and the persons present, shall be maintained by the Secretary for public inspection.

return arrow Back to Top

§503.78   General rule—information pertaining to meeting.

(a) As defined in §503.71, all information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings of the agency shall be disclosed to the public unless excepted from such disclosure under §§503.79 through 503.81 or §503.84.

(b) All inquiries as to the status of pending matters which were considered by the Commission in closed session should be directed to the Secretary of the Commission. Commission personnel who attend closed meetings of the Commission are prohibited from disclosing anything that occurs during those meetings. An employee's failure to respect the confidentiality of closed meetings constitutes a violation of Commission's General Standards of Conduct. The Commission can, of course, determine to make public the events or decisions occurring in a closed meeting, such information to be disseminated by the Office of the Secretary. An inquiry to the Office of the Secretary as to whether any information has been made public is not, therefore, improper. However, a request of or attempt to persuade a Commission employee to divulge the contents of a closed meeting constitutes a lack of proper professional conduct inappropriate to a person practicing before this agency, and requires that the employee file a report of such event so that a determination can be made whether disciplinary action should be initiated pursuant to §502.30 of this chapter.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 85 FR 9682, Feb. 20, 2020]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.79   Exceptions—information pertaining to meeting.

Except in a case where the agency finds that the public interest requires otherwise, information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings need not be disclosed by the agency if the agency determines, under the provisions of §§503.80 and 503.81 that disclosure of that information is likely to disclose matters which are:

(a) Specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interests of national defense or foreign policy and in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(b) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(c) Specifically exempted from disclosure by any statute other than 5 U.S.C. 552 (FOIA), provided that such statute (1) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (2) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;

(d) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information, obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(e) Involved with accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(f) Of a personal nature, where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(g) Investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, or information which if written would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such record or information would

(1) Interfere with enforcement proceedings,

(2) Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication,

(3) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,

(4) Disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source,

(5) Disclose investigative techniques and procedures, or

(6) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;

(h) Contained in or related to examination, operation, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions;

(i) Information, the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action, unless the agency has already disclosed to the public the content or nature of its proposed action, or where the agency is required by law to make such disclosure on its own initiative prior to taking final agency action on such proposal; or

(j) Specifically concerned with the agency's issuance of a subpena, the agency's participation in a civil action or proceeding, an action in a foreign court or international tribunal, or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct, or disposition by the agency of a particular case of formal agency adjudication pursuant to the procedures in 5 U.S.C. 554 or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.80   Procedures for withholding information pertaining to meeting.

(a) Any member of the agency, or the General Counsel of the agency may request that information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or to a portion or portions of a series of meetings be withheld from public disclosure for any of the reasons set forth in §503.79 by submitting such request in writing to the Secretary not later than two (2) weeks prior to the commencement of the first meeting in a series of meetings.

(b) Upon receipt of any request made under paragraph (a) of this section, the Secretary shall schedule a time at which the members of the agency shall vote upon the request, which vote shall take place not later than eight (8) days prior to the scheduled meeting of the agency.

(c) At the time scheduled by the Secretary in paragraph (b) of this section, the Members of the agency, upon consideration of the request submitted under paragraph (a) of this section, shall vote upon that request. That vote shall determine whether or not information pertaining to a meeting may be withheld from public disclosure for any of the reasons provided in §503.79, and whether or not the public interest requires that the information be disclosed notwithstanding the applicability of the reasons provided in §503.79 permitting the withholding from public disclosure of the information pertaining to a meeting.

(d) In the case of a vote on a request under this section to withhold from public disclosure information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting, no such information shall be withheld from public disclosure unless, by a vote on the issues described in paragraph (c) of this section, a majority of the entire membership of the agency shall vote to withhold such information by recorded vote.

(e) In the case of a vote on a request under this section to withhold information pertaining to a portion or portions of a series of meetings, no such information shall be withheld unless, by a vote on the issues described in paragraph (c) of this section, a majority of the entire membership of the agency shall vote to withhold such information. A determination to withhold information pertaining to a portion or portions of a series of meetings from public disclosure may be accomplished by a single vote on the issues described in paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the vote of each member of the agency shall be recorded and the vote shall be cast by each member and not by proxy vote.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.81   Effect of vote to withhold information pertaining to meeting.

(a) Where the agency votes as provided in §503.80 to withhold from public disclosure information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings, such information shall be excepted from the requirements of §§503.78, 503.82 and 503.83.

(b) Where the agency votes as provided in §503.80 to permit public disclosure of information pertaining to a portion of portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings, such information shall be disclosed to the public as required by §§503.78, 503.82 and 503.83.

(c) Not later than the day following the date on which a vote is taken under §503.80, by which the information pertaining to a meeting is determined to be disclosed, the Secretary shall make available to the public a written copy of such vote reflecting the vote of each member of the agency on the question.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.82   Public announcement of agency meeting.

(a) Except as provided in §§503.80 and 503.81 regarding a determination to withhold from public disclosure any information pertaining to a portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings, or as otherwise provided in paragraph (c) of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall make public announcement of each meeting of the agency.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, public announcement of each meeting of the agency shall be accomplished not later than one week prior to commencement of a meeting or the commencement of the first meeting in a series of meetings, and shall disclose:

(1) The time of the meeting;

(2) The place of the meeting;

(3) The subject matter of each portion of each meeting or series of meetings;

(4) Whether any portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of any series of meetings shall be open or closed to public observation; and

(5) The name and telephone number of the Secretary of the agency who shall respond to requests for information about a meeting.

(c) The announcement described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section may be accomplished less than one week prior to the commencement of any meeting or series of meetings, provided the agency determines by recorded vote that the agency business requires that any such meeting or series of meetings be held at an earlier date. In the event of such a determination by the agency, public announcement as described in paragraph (b) of this section shall be accomplished at the earliest practicable time.

(d) Immediately following any public announcement accomplished under the provisions of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall submit a notice for publication in the Federal Register disclosing:

(1) The time of the meeting;

(2) The place of the meeting;

(3) The subject matter of each portion of each meeting or series of meetings;

(4) Whether any portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of any series of meetings is open or closed to public observation; and

(5) The name and telephone number of the Secretary of the agency who shall respond to requests for information about any meeting.

(e) No comments or further information relating to a particular item scheduled for an agency meeting will be accepted by the Secretary for consideration subsequent to public announcement of such meeting; except that the Commission, on its own initiative, or pursuant to a written request, may in its discretion, permit a departure from this limitation for exceptional circumstances.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 52 FR 27002, July 17, 1987]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.83   Public announcement of changes in meeting.

(a) Except as provided in §§503.80 and 503.81, under the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, the time or place of a meeting or series of meetings may be changed by the agency following accomplishment of the announcement and notice required by §503.82, provided the Secretary of the agency shall publicly announce such change at the earliest practicable time.

(b) The subject matter of a portion or portions of a meeting or a portion or portions of a series of meetings, the time and place of such meeting, and the determination that the portion or portions of a series of meetings shall be open or closed to public observation may be changed following accomplishment of the announcement required by §503.82, provided:

(1) The agency, by recorded vote of the majority of the entire membership of the agency, determines that agency business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change was possible; and

(2) The Secretary of the agency publicly announces, at the earliest practicable time, the change made and the vote of each member upon such change.

(c) Immediately following any public announcement of any change accomplished under the provisions of this section, the Secretary of the agency shall submit a notice for publication in the Federal Register disclosing:

(1) The time of the meeting;

(2) The place of the meeting;

(3) The subject matter of each portion of each meeting or series of meetings;

(4) Whether any portion or portions of any meeting or any portion or portions of any series of meetings is open or closed to public observation;

(5) Any change in paragraphs (c) (1), (c) (2), (c) (3), or (c) (4) of this section; and

(6) The name and telephone number of the Secretary of the agency who shall respond to requests for information about any meeting.

return arrow Back to Top

§503.84   Nonpublic Collaborative Discussions.

(a) General. Notwithstanding §503.72, a majority of the Commissioners may hold a meeting that is not open to public observation to discuss official agency business if:

(1) No formal or informal vote or other official agency action is taken at the meeting;

(2) Each individual present at the meeting is a Commissioner or an employee of the Commission;

(3) At least one (1) Commissioner from each political party is present at the meeting, if there are sitting Commissioners from more than one party; and

(4) The General Counsel of the Commission is present at the meeting.

(b) Disclosure of nonpublic collaborative discussions. Except as provided under paragraph (c) of this section, not later than two (2) business days after the conclusion of a meeting under paragraph (a) of this section, the Commission shall make available to the public, in a place easily accessible to the public:

(1) A list of the individuals present at the meeting; and

(2) A summary of the matters discussed at the meeting, except for any matters the Commission properly determines may be withheld from the public under §503.73.

(c) Exception. If the Commission properly determines matters may be withheld from the public under §503.73, the Commission shall provide a summary with as much general information as possible on those matters withheld from the public.

(d) Ongoing proceedings. If a meeting under paragraph (a) of this section directly relates to an ongoing proceeding before the Commission, the Commission shall make the disclosure under paragraph (b) of this section on the date of the final Commission decision.

[85 FR 9682, Feb. 20, 2020]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.85   Agency recordkeeping requirements.

(a) In the case of any portion or portions of a meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings determined by the agency to be closed to public observation under the provisions of §§502.73 through 503.75, the following records shall be maintained by the Secretary of the agency:

(1) The certification of the General Counsel of the agency required by §503.77;

(2) A statement from the officer presiding over the portion or portions of the meeting or portion or portions of a series of meetings setting forth the time and place of the portion or portions of the meeting or portion or portions of the series of meetings, the persons present at those times; and

(3) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a complete transcript or electronic recording fully recording the proceedings at each portion of each meeting closed to public observation.

(b) In case the agency determines to close to public observation any portion or portions of any meeting or portion or portions of any series of meetings because public observation of such portion or portions of any meeting is likely to specifically concern the agency's issuance of a subpena, or the agency's participation in a civil action or proceeding, an action in a foreign court or international tribunal, or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct, or disposition by the agency of a particular case of formal agency adjudication pursuant to the procedures in 5 U.S.C. 554 or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing, the agency may maintain a set of minutes in lieu of the transcript or recording described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section. Such minutes shall contain:

(1) A full and clear description of all matters discussed in the closed portion of any meeting;

(2) A full and accurate summary of any action taken on any matter discussed in the closed portion of any meeting and the reasons therefor;

(3) A description of each of the views expressed on any matter upon which action was taken as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section;

(4) The record of any rollcall vote which shall show the vote of each member on the question; and

(5) An identification of all documents considered in connection with any action taken on a matter described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(c) All records maintained by the agency as described in this section shall be held by the agency for a period of not less than two (2) years following any meeting or not less than one (1) year following the conclusion of any agency proceeding with respect to which that meeting or portion of a meeting was held.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984, as amended at 85 FR 9682, Feb. 20, 2020]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.86   Public access to records.

(a) All transcripts, electronic recordings or minutes required to be maintained by the agency under the provisions of §§503.85(a)(3) and 503.85(b) shall be promptly made available to the public by the Secretary of the agency, except for any item of discussion or testimony of any witnesses which the agency determines to contain information which may be withheld from public disclosure because its disclosure is likely to disclose matters which are:

(1)(i) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (ii) in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;

(2) Related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency;

(3) Specifically exempted from disclosure by any statute other than 5 U.S.C. 552 (FOIA), provided that such statute

(i) Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or

(ii) Establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld;

(4) Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;

(5) Involved with accusing any person of a crime, or formally censuring any person;

(6) Of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(7) Investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, or information which, if written, would be contained in such records, but only to the extent that the production of such records or information would

(i) Interfere with enforcement proceedings,

(ii) Deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication,

(iii) Constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,

(iv) Disclose the identity of a confidential source and, in the case of a record compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, confidential information furnished only by the confidential source,

(v) Disclose investigative techniques and procedures or

(vi) Endanger the life or physical safety of law enforcement personnel;

(8) Contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions;

(9) Information, the premature disclosure of which would be likely to significantly frustrate implementation of a proposed agency action, unless the agency has already disclosed to the public the content or nature of its proposed action, or where the agency is required by law to make such disclosure on its own initiative prior to taking final agency action on such proposal; or

(10) Specifically concerned with the agency's issuance of a subpena, or the agency's participation in a civil action or proceeding, an action in a foreign court or international tribunal, or an arbitration, or the initiation, conduct, or disposition by the agency of a particular case of formal agency adjudication pursuant to the procedures in 5 U.S.C. 554 or otherwise involving a determination on the record after opportunity for a hearing.

(b) Requests for access to the records described in this section shall be made in accordance with procedures described in subparts C and D of this part.

(c) Records disclosed to the public under this section shall be furnished at the expense of the party requesting such access at the actual cost of duplication or transcription.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984, as amended at 64 FR 23549, May 3, 1999]

return arrow Back to Top

§503.87   Effect of provisions of this subpart on other subparts.

(a) Nothing in this subpart shall limit or expand the ability of any person to seek access to agency records under subpart D (§§503.31 to 503.36) of this part except that the exceptions of §503.86 shall govern requests to copy or inspect any portion of any transcript, electronic recordings or minutes required to be kept under this subpart.

(b) Nothing in this subpart shall permit the withholding from any individual to whom a record pertains any record required by this subpart to be maintained by the agency which record is otherwise available to such an individual under the provisions of subpart H of this part.

[49 FR 44401, Nov. 6, 1984; 49 FR 47395, Dec. 4, 1984, as amended at 80 FR 52641, Sept. 1, 2015]

return arrow Back to Top

Need assistance?