"On July 14, the House and Senate passed legislation (S. 3007) extending key pandemic-era accommodations, including remote meeting authorizations, to March 31, 2023. Once the governor signs the bill, cities and towns will retain the option to hold public meetings remotely, following the same guidelines that have been in place since the COVID public health emergency was first declared in March of 2020.
Back in May, a remote meeting extension was included in the final FY23 Senate Budget as an outside section, but this language was advanced by the Senate as a standalone bill last week with the July 15 expiration approaching and the final budget still tied up in negotiations. The House later passed its own version of the bill, including language that would have created a permanent mandate for remote access to all public meetings aside from those in executive session, with a provision requiring remote participation by the public if public participation is allowed or required at the meeting. This would have gone into effect on April 1, 2023."
"On July 16, 2022, Governor Baker signed into Law An Act Relative to Extending Certain State of Emergency Accommodations, which, among other things, extends the expiration of the provisions pertaining to the Open Meeting Law to March 31, 2023. Specifically, this extension allows public bodies to continue holding meetings remotely without a quorum of the public body physically present at a meeting location, and to provide "adequate, alternative" access to remote meetings. The Act does not make any new changes to the Open Meeting Law other than extending the expiration date of the temporary provisions regarding remote meetings.
In partnership,The Attorney General’s Division of Open Government"
|The Franklin Town Council holds a hybrid meeting. (Photo courtesy town of Franklin)|