Michigan Extends Order Enabling Virtual Civic Meetings

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended an order allowing governments and other public bodies to meet digitally as the coronavirus pandemic continues. The provisions will remain in place through June 30.

by John Tunison, MLive.com / May 7, 2020
St. Petersburg City Council members conduct their Thursday meeting via Zoom. (Josh Solomon/Tampa Bay Times) TNS

(TNS) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended an order allowing governments and other public bodies to meet digitally as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Whitmer issued the order late Wednesday, May 6 and it extends provisions of a previous order through June 30.

The order applies to public bodies subject to the state Open Meetings Act. Those bodies can use teleconferencing or video conferencing to meet and conduct business as long as they take measures to allow for public input.

“During this ongoing crisis, it’s critical to ensure public officials can continue to do their jobs and meet the needs of residents, while also ensuring meetings remain open, accessible and transparent to the public,'' Whitmer said in a May 6 written statement.

Public bodies must comply with the following guidelines while meeting:

Ensure two-way communication for members and the public to hear and address each other when speaking.

Provide adequate notice to the public of the meeting.

Post a public meeting notice on their website.

Permit participants to record or broadcast the public meeting.

Allow participants to address the public body during a public comment period.

The order also temporarily excuses school boards from monthly meeting requirements. Public bodies, departments and agencies are also temporarily authorized to use technology to enable remote participation in public comment and hearings.

©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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