On October 19, 2021, Governor Hochul signed into legislation amendments to the New York State Open Meetings Law (Public Officer’s Law § 103(e) and (f)), which governs meetings of public bodies, including school boards of education.
The first change impacts the timeline for posting the documents scheduled to be the subject of discussion at public meetings. Previously, these documents had to be made available to the public and posted on the school district website “to the extent practicable as determined by the” board and district. Now, the Open Meetings Law requires that these documents must be made available to the public and posted on the district website “at least twenty-four hours prior to the meeting.” The documents that must be made available are the same documents that would be subject to public access under the Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”).
The second change concerns the recording and streaming of meetings. Public bodies, including school boards, must now, to the extent practicable, livestream board meetings on the district website or another platform. The recordings of meetings must then be posted to the district website within five business days of the meeting and must be maintained on the website for five years.
These changes go into effect immediately, therefore, school districts will need to begin following these required practices immediately. As always, Honeywell Law Firm is available to assist with implementation of the new legal requirements. Contact us at email@example.com for further information and guidance.