As the state Legislature wrapped up for the year, no action was taken to extend the December 31, 2021, sunset in the Open Meetings Act allowing public bodies to meet remotely.
Starting January 1, 2022, any remote meeting accommodations previously allowable because of a local state of emergency declaration, or a public body member having a medical condition, will cease to exist. Only a member on active military duty will continue to have the option to participate remotely.
A municipality may offer a remote meeting option for the public, but can’t restrict the public to only participating in the meeting remotely. Talk to your municipal attorney for further clarification on this.
While there were a few bills passed over the last six months allowing certain public bodies to continue meeting remotely, local government public bodies were not included in those exemptions granted.
The League will continue to work on this important issue and provide updates as they become available. We encourage members to talk with their legislators on how returning to only in-person meetings may be affecting your municipality and public body members.
Act: Are your council members, citizens, and staff concerned about their health and safety? Your state lawmakers in Lansing need to hear from you if you want the ability to hold remote meetings due to public health concerns. Click here to find your state Senator and go here to find your State Representative.
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.