09 October 2020

Electronic Board Meetings Gain Senate Approval, Retroactive to April 2020

Yesterday, the Michigan Senate approved Bill No. 1108, addressing electronic meetings under the Open Meetings Act (MCL 15.263).

If signed into law, public bodies will be permitted to meet remotely – by telephonic or video conferencing – under specific circumstances, including when a statewide or local state of emergency is declared and there is risk to the personal health or safety of board members or the public.  Importantly, any board meetings held between April 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020 could be held electronically for any reason, and public bodies would be permitted to hold electronic board meetings due to a state of emergency until the end of calendar year 2021.  Separately, until the end of calendar year 2021, board members with medical conditions may participate remotely in the same way members absent due to military duty are currently accommodated.

Public bodies will be required to post notice of an electronic meeting at least 18 hours before the meeting begins and explain why the meeting is being held electronically, as well as how the public can access and participate in the meeting.  This notice must be posted either on the district’s homepage or on a dedicated webpage for public notices of electronic meetings.  Additional notice requirements apply.

The bill is certain to be fast‑tracked for review, revision, and approval by the Michigan House.  Miller Johnson will continue to follow the legislation closely and provide updates if, and when, the bill is passed into law.