Under the newly amended Open Meetings Law, boards can meet virtually until June 8, 2022. After that, they must hold a public hearing and pass a resolution stating the procedures and specials circumstances for allowing members to attend remotely. This new law, section 103-a, gives library boards the option to expand remote/virtual access to individuals (not the entire board) in extraordinary circumstances only. You can find more information and sample resolutions prepared by attorney Stephanie (Cole) Adams here.
Under the new law, if library boards want to permit individuals facing “extraordinary circumstances” (including disability, illness, caregiver responsibilities, and more) remote access to a meeting, the library board must:
- Adopt a resolution authorizing remote attendance and adopt procedures that they determine to be ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
- Conduct a public hearing before adopting the resolution.
When hosting a meeting where a library board member is attending remotely, the meeting must:
- Have a quorum of trustees physically present at the public meeting location. Members attending remotely can vote only if there is a quorum of the trustees physically present.
- Grant remote access to the public to view and participate (public comment).
- Record meeting minutes reflecting who attended in person and who attended remotely.
- Record and post the meeting on the library’s website within five business days and let it remain for a minimum of five years. Recordings shall be transcribed upon request.
The law also states that the “in person” participation requirements of the Law shall not apply during a state disaster emergency declared by the governor.
All libraries, regardless of type, are required to comply with Open Meetings Law. For more on Open Meetings Law, check out the Committee on Open Government, which also provides information about Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).