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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Government meetings can continue to happen virtually under new law

a laptop computer with a zoom call on it
Gabriel Benois
/
Unsplash

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 1108 into law last week, which says that public bodies can hold meetings virtually.

The governor had issued similar executive orders in the past few months that allowed for government entities to hold virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. These orders were nullified by a recent state Supreme Court decision that declared the governor's executive orders to be unconstitutional.

The law takes effect immediately and applies retroactively to March. Without the new law, any meetings held remotely due to COVID-19 could be in violation of the Open Meetings Act.

According to the text of the law, the government entity must notify the public 18 hours in advance of the virtual meeting, and explain to the public why the meeting is virtual and provide them instructions on how to participate. Members of the public body must also identify themselves by name, and say where they are attending the meeting.

In a statement, Governor Whitmer said she was thankful that the Legislature codified her executive order, and said she is “ready to work alongside the Legislature to pass laws that help us defeat this virus together."

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