Updated Open Meeting Law Guidance (Revised June 9, 2020)
On March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, to enable public bodies to carry out their responsibilities while adhering to public health recommendations regarding social distancing.
First, the executive order relieves public bodies from the requirement in the Open Meeting Law that meetings be conducted in a public place that is open and physically accessible to the public, provided that the public body instead provides adequate, alternative means of public access to the deliberations of the public body. “Adequate, alternative means” may include, without limitation, providing public access through telephone, internet, or satellite enabled audio or video conferencing or any other technology that enables the public to clearly follow the proceedings of the public body in real time.
Second, the executive order authorizes all members of a public body to participate in a meeting remotely; the Open Meeting Law’s requirement that a quorum of the body and the chair be physically present at the meeting location is suspended.
All other provisions of the Open Meeting Law and regulations, such as the requirements regarding posting notice of meetings and creating and maintaining accurate meeting minutes, as well as the limited, enumerated purposes for holding an executive session, remain in effect.
To assist public bodies in complying with the Open Meeting Law, as modified by the Governor’s executive order, click on the link below “Updated guidance on holding meetings during the COVID-19 state of emergency.”