We are quickly approaching the March 31, 2021 sunset allowing public bodies to meet remotely for any reason. While there is an outlet to continue to meet remotely until the end of the year, many public bodies are unable to declare a state of emergency to do so. The League is advocating for an extension of the no reason remote meeting sunset date until June 30, 2021, or until vaccines are more widely available and distributed across the state.
Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order allowing for indoor meetings of 25 persons or fewer. This allows public bodies to conduct in-person public meetings if they can adhere to social distancing and other mitigation measures. There are many public bodies who can’t accommodate the distancing requirements, or aren’t comfortable gathering in person yet, so we need flexibility.
Contact your state Representative and your state Senator to ask for their support in extending the no reason virtual meeting sunset date. They need to hear from from you and your public body members on why your public body needs the ability to continue to meet remotely.
Senate Bill 207 was introduced late last week which would extend the sunset, but it’s not going to move unless both chambers hear from constituents on the need to extend the sunset.
The League will continue to provide updates as any new information becomes available.
Jennifer Rigterink is a legislative associate for the League handling economic development, land use and municipal services issues. She can be reached at [email protected] or 517-908-0305.