Friday, October 2, 2015

Research Q of the Week: City Business on Columbus Day (10/2/15)

Question: Can city councils meet on Columbus Day?
Answer: Whether to set your sails for a three-day weekend or not depends on if the city has designed Columbus Day as a holiday. (I know, I was surprised when I first learned this too!) 

Generally, state law provides certain public holidays when no public business can be transacted, except to deal with emergencies. The transaction of public business includes conducting public meetings.

However, state law provides that cities have the option of deciding whether Columbus Day should be a holiday. If Columbus Day is not designated as a holiday, public business may be conducted on the day, including having a council meeting.  (Note: cities also have the same ability to designate or not designate the Friday after Thanksgiving as a holiday.)

If a city does designate Columbus Day as a holiday, then the council should set an alternate meeting day for any regular meeting days that falls on that day.

By the way, the public holidays are:

•    New Year’s Day (January 1)
•    Martin Luther King’s Birthday (the third Monday in January)
•    Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday (the third Monday in February)
•    Memorial Day (the last Monday in May)
•    Independence Day (July 4)
•    Labor Day (the first Monday in September)
•    Christopher Columbus Day (the second Monday in October)
•    Veterans Day (November 11)
•    Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November)
•    Christmas Day (December 25)

Written by Irene Kao, research attorney with the League of Minnesota Cities. Contact: or (651) 281-1224

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.

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