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Governor Relaxes Open Meetings Act Requirements for Public Bodies

At 4:46 p.m. March 18, 2020, the Governor issued Executive Order 2020-15, addressing numerous concerns regarding public meetings held during the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).The Governor’s Executive Order temporarily authorizes remote participation in public meetings and hearing.

According to the Executive Order, rules and procedures relating to physical presence at meetings and hearings of public bodies within Michigan must continue to conduct public business despite the ongoing spread of COVID-19. In light of this, the Executive Order has the following important takeaways:

 

1. The Executive Order applies until April 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.

2. A public body may meet remotely, including through telephone or video conferencing.

3. The members of the public body and the general public must be able to participate.

4. Any public body with a website presence must provide electronic notice on its website of the meeting.

5. A notice of a meeting being held electronically must include the following information: (i) an explanation as to why the meeting is held electronically; (ii) instructions for connecting to the meeting; (iii) instructions for participating in the meeting, and (iv) procedures for how persons with disabilities participate.

Townships can see the specific details for carrying out a remote meeting by reviewing the Executive Order 2020-15.

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