50 C.F.R. § 600.135   Meeting procedures.

Title 50 - Wildlife and Fisheries

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
Subpart B—Regional Fishery Management Councils

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§ 600.135   Meeting procedures.

(a) Public notice of regular meetings of the Council, scientific statistical committee or advisory panels, including the agenda, must be published in the Federal Register on a timely basis, and appropriate news media notice must be given. The published agenda of any regular meeting may not be modified to include additional matters for Council action without public notice, or such notice must be given at least 14 days prior to the meeting date, unless such modification is to address an emergency under section 305 (c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, in which case public notice shall be given immediately. Drafts of all regular public meeting notices must be transmitted to the NMFS Headquarters Office at least 23 calendar days before the first day of the regular meeting. Councils must ensure that all public meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities, and that the public can make timely requests for language interpreters or other auxiliary aids at public meetings.

(b) Drafts of emergency public notices must be transmitted to the NMFS Washington Office; recommended at least 5 working days prior to the first day of the emergency meeting. Although notices of, and agendas for, emergency meetings are not required to be published in the Federal Register, notices of emergency meetings must be promptly announced through the appropriate news media.

(c) After notifying local newspapers in the major fishing ports within its region, having included in the notification the time and place of the meeting and the reason for closing any meeting or portion thereof:

(1) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC shall close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns information bearing on a national security classification.

(2) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns matters or information pertaining to national security, employment matters, or briefings on litigation in which the Council is interested.

(3) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns internal administrative matters other than employment. Examples of other internal administrative matters include candidates for appointment to AP, SSC, and other subsidiary bodies and public decorum or medical conditions of members of a Council or its subsidiary bodies. In deciding whether to close a portion of a meeting to discuss internal administrative matters, a Council or subsidiary body should consider not only the privacy interests of individuals whose conduct or qualifications may be discussed, but also the interest of the public in being informed of Council operations and actions.

(d) Without the notice required by paragraph (c) of this section, a Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may briefly close a portion of a meeting to discuss employment or other internal administrative matters. The closed portion of a meeting that is closed without notice may not exceed 2 hours.

(e) Before closing a meeting or portion thereof, a Council or subsidiary body should consult with the NOAA General Counsel Office to ensure that the matters to be discussed fall within the exceptions to the requirement to hold public meetings described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(f) Actions that affect the public, although based on discussions in closed meetings, must be taken in public. For example, appointments to an AP must be made in the public part of the meeting; however, a decision to take disciplinary action against a Council employee need not be announced to the public.

(g) A majority of the voting members of any Council constitute a quorum for Council meetings, but one or more such members designated by the Council may hold hearings.

(h) Decisions of any Council are by majority vote of the voting members present and voting (except for a vote to propose removal of a Council member, see 50 CFR 600.230). Voting by proxy is permitted only pursuant to 50 CFR 600.205 (b). An abstention does not affect the unanimity of a vote.

(i) Voting members of the Council who disagree with the majority on any issue to be submitted to the Secretary, including principal state officials raising federalism issues, may submit a written statement of their reasons for dissent. If any Council member elects to file such a statement, it should be submitted to the Secretary at the same time the majority report is submitted.

[66 FR 57887, Nov. 19, 2001]

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