As many are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes to the New York State Open Meetings Law and the ability of a public body of a political subdivision, including school district boards of education, to conduct their required meetings virtually. What was initially permitted by the Governor’s Executive Orders to conduct meetings virtually, and then made into legislative changes, was set to end on January 15, 2022.
However, both the New York State Senate and Assembly, on January 11, 2022, passed a law amending the Open Meetings Law change to allow virtual meetings to be conducted without requiring in-person access to the meeting of the public body. The text of the bill can be found here. The new expiration date of this permitted virtual meeting is “upon the expiration or termination of the state disaster emergency” as determined by Executive Order. Thus, the virtual meeting allowance of the open meetings law is at least here to stay until the State declares an end to the COVID-19 state disaster emergency. While meetings are not required to be virtual, this flexibility will be appreciated by many public bodies who have enjoyed the safety that such a meeting has provided, as well as in many cases, increased attendance by the public who can view the meeting remotely.
As always, Honeywell Law Firm is available to assist with implementation of legal requirements. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and guidance.