Legislation allows meetings to continue online
A new law signed Friday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer allows government boards and public commissions to hold their meetings online. The practice had been allowed by executive order during most of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but those orders were rendered unlawful by a Supreme Court ruling earlier this month.
The new law extends the permissions beyond the coronavirus pandemic. Officials who cannot attend meetings in person for a variety of reasons will be allowed to attend virtually.
For example, if a city commissioner can’t attend a meeting due to illness, disaster, or military service, they will be able to participate in the meeting online instead of in-person.
The law only extends the permissions through the end of 2021, but it could herald a new standard in public body rules going forward.
Typically, public boards must meet in person in order to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Act. Those rules ensure public bodies operate transparently and are publicly accountable.
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