This week, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) introduced Senate Bill 365, which would allow members of a public body to hold meetings and votes remotely through the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When this pandemic prevented in-person meetings back in March, we made open teleconference meetings an acceptable option for conducting public business. People who are high-risk or have mobility issues have found it easier to be present and participate through remote meetings, but unfortunately, this law will expire soon,” Fedor said.
This bill extends the provisions granted through House Bill 197, which allow local governments and groups such as school boards to hold remote meetings until December 1, 2020.
“We had no choice but to legislate reactively when this crisis started,” said Fedor. “However, we now have the time and knowledge to proactively alleviate some of the stress this pandemic is causing local governments and the individuals they serve. Many local governments have successfully conducted remote meetings, and they want this bill passed now so they can prepare for maintaining this practice beyond December. None of us know when it will be possible to safely resume in-person meetings. Until then, remote meetings should be permitted as an essential option for efficient, inclusive government operations.”
The bill now awaits committee referral.