County Board Reviews Open Meetings Act
November 2, 2020
By Mike Kruzman / firstname.lastname@example.org
Livingston County’s attorney shared updates and an overview with what’s legal regarding the Open Meetings Act following recent action from the state Supreme Court.
When the Michigan Supreme Court held that many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Orders had exceeded her constitutional authority last month, many local boards were left with uncertainty on how to proceed with open meetings. New during the pandemic was the believed authority to conduct meetings remotely.
Senate Bill 1108, originally introduced and sponsored by State Senator Lana Theis of Brighton Township, was approved by Whitmer last month and now allows them to continue through the end of 2020. Livingston County Attorney Rich McNulty shared with the Board of Commissioners during their online meeting Monday, what the law has in store for open meetings next year. Participants can take part in virtual meetings in 2021 if they are ill or injured, on military service, or if an order, either state or local, allows it.
Looking further out to 2022, board members being away only for military service will be allowed to attend virtually and still count towards a quorum.
Other changes McNulty noted were that virtual participants have to identify where they are located, which the Board of Commissioners did at the start of the meeting, and emails need to be available on appropriate websites as a way for constituents to get a hold of who they need to that is remote. Additionally, any amendment to an agenda needs to be posted 2 hours in advance or moved during the meeting itself.
McNulty said, legally speaking, this all within the parameters of what the Board has been doing.