CHAPTER XXVII--Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
PART 2701--Government in the Sunshine Act Regulations
[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 29, Volume 9]
[Revised as of July 1, 2001]
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access
2701.1 Purpose and scope.
2701.2 Open meetings policy; closure of meetings.
2701.3 Announcement of meetings.
2701.4 Request to open or close meeting.
2701.5 Petition for review.
2701.6 Discussion during open meetings.
2701.7 Expedited closing procedure.
Sec. 2701.1 Purpose and scope.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of this part is to implement the Government
in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b. The rules in this part are intended
to open, to the extent practicable, the meetings of the Commission to
public observation while preserving the Commission's ability to fulfill
its responsibilities and respect the interests of persons in
confidential consideration of sensitive matters.
(b) Scope. This part applies to all meetings of the Commission. A
``meeting of the Commission'' means a joint deliberation in person or by
conference telephone call of at least a majority of either the members
of the Commission or of a panel of three or more Commissioners that
determines or results in the joint conduct or disposition of official
Commission business, but does not include (1) deliberations regarding a
decision to open or close a meeting, to withhold information about a
meeting, and the circumstances of meetings, such as their time, place,
and subject matter, and (2) the individual deliberations of Commission
members of matters considered upon circulated documents or other
Sec. 2701.2 Open meetings policy; closure of meetings.
(a) Policy. Commission meetings will generally be open to public
observation, including meetings concerning the disposition by the
Commission of a formal adjudication. See 5 U.S.C. 522b(c)(10).
(b) Closure. Meetings may be closed, or certain information about a
meeting may not be disclosed under the circumstances contemplated by 5
U.S.C. 522b(c)(1)-(10), and under the procedures specified by 5 U.S.C.
552b (d) and (f). Commission employees may attend closed meetings of the
commission unless the notice of a closed meeting states otherwise.
Sec. 2701.3 Announcement of meetings.
(a) Generally. The Commission shall publicly announce and submit to
the Federal Register at least 7 days before a meeting, the time, place,
subject matter of a meeting, whether it is to be open or closed, and the
name and phone number of the Commission employee who will respond to
requests for information about the meeting. The description of the
subject matter of a meeting at which the Commission will consider
adjudicatory matters, shall include the names and docket numbers of the
cases to be considered. The Commission shall also contact, by phone or
mail, the parties to the cases to be considered at the meeting, shall
post a copy of a notice of the meeting at the Office of Public
Information, shall mail notices to persons who have requested inclusion
of their names on a meeting mailing list, and may issue press releases.
(b) Shorter notice. If a majority of the members of the Commission
or a panel of three or more Commissioners determines by a recorded vote
that pressing Commission business requires that a meeting be called in
less than 7 days, the announcement required by paragraph (a) of this
section shall be made at the earliest practicable time.
(c) Changes in time, place, subject matter, and decision whether to
open or close after public announcement of meeting. If the time or place
of a meeting publicly announced is changed, or an item to be considered
at such a meeting is to be deleted, the change or deletion shall be
publicly announced without a recorded vote at the earliest practicable
time in the manner required by paragraph (a) of this section. The
subject matter of a meeting publicly announced shall not be expanded and
the decision to open or close such a meeting shall not be changed unless
a majority of the members of the Commission or if a panel of
three or more Commissioners determines by a recorded vote that agency
business so requires and that no earlier announcement of the change was
possible; the Commission shall publicly announce such a change and the
vote of each member upon the change at the earliest practicable time.
Sec. 2701.4 Request to open or close meeting.
Any person may request that the Commission open a meeting that it
has earlier decided to close. Any person whose interest may be directly
affected by the opening of a meeting may request that the meeting be
closed. Two copies of a request shall be filed in writing with the
Executive Director of the Commission at the earliest practicable time,
and no later than one hour before the meeting. A request to close shall
state the interest of the person that may be adversely affected. The
Commission shall take a recorded vote on the request if one member
desires that it do so. The Executive Director shall inform the
requesting person of whether a vote was taken, and, if so, its outcome.
Requests shall be addressed as follows: Sunshine Act Request, Office of
the Executive Director, Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission,
601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Suite 9500, Washington, D.C. 20001-2021.
Sec. 2701.5 Petition for review.
Any person may petition the Commission to review any action he
alleges to be in violation of this part or 5 U.S.C. 552b that was taken
by any employee or member of the Commission. The petition shall be in
writing and shall be filed with the Executive Director within 30 days of
the alleged violation. The Commission shall consider and rule upon the
petition with expedition.
Sec. 2701.6 Discussion during open meetings.
Deliberations, discussions, comments, statements, or observations
made during the course of an open meeting do not constitute actions of
the Commission, nor do they necessarily represent the basis for any
Commission action. Comments made by a Commissioner or an employee of the
Commission may be advanced for purposes of discussion or argument, or as
an aside, and may not reflect the views or ultimate position of that
Commissioner or employee. Reasons for decisions stated by a Commissioner
at an open meeting may be later changed by that Commissioner, as may a
Commissioner's vote. For these reasons, persons who choose to act on the
basis of discussions at open meetings do so entirely at their own risk
and without any assurance that the Commission's final decisions will be
reflective of the discussions or initial vote.
Sec. 2701.7 Expedited closing procedure.
(a) Policy. Although it is the general policy of the Commission to
open to the public meetings that may be subject to closure, including
meetings concerning adjudication of cases, the Commission may find it
necessary in the public interest to close meetings. The purpose of this
section is to provide an expedited closing procedure under 5 U.S.C.
552b(d)(4). The Commission has determined that, inasmuch as the
Commission's responsibilities are almost entirely adjudicatory, a
majority of its meetings may properly be closed under 5 U.S.C.
552b(c)(10). Although the Commission has to date held few meetings,
those that have been held concerned the adjudication of cases and could
properly have been closed.
(b) Procedure. A meeting may be closed if a majority of either the
members of the Commission or of a panel of three or more Commissioners
votes by recorded vote at the beginning of such a meeting to close it to
the public. The record of the vote shall reflect the vote of each voting
member and shall be made available to the public. A public announcement
of the time, place, and subject matter of the meeting shall be made at
the earliest practicable time, except to the extent that such
information is exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552b(c). Section
2701.3 does not apply to meetings closed under this section.