Open Meetings Law Guidance Update for May 15, 2022
On May 15, 2022, Governor Hochul signed Executive Order 11.6 extending the current state disaster emergency caused by COVID-19. This basically means the 60-day Open Meetings Law videoconferencing flexibility period will extend through June 14th per the newly passed N.Y. Executive Law section 103-a.
Charter school education corporation boards of trustees wishing to exercise this flexibility after June 9th should, at the beginning of a meeting, make a determination that the “circumstances necessitating the emergency declaration would affect or impair the ability of the [board] to hold an in person meeting.” Boards may then meet via videoconferencing subject to the following:
- Charter school trustees may participate in a meeting without in-person public access at every remote site;
- Boards must still notice meetings in accordance with the Open Meetings Law but the notice does not have to include the location of every trustee who may participate via videoconference;
- Board meeting notices must include how the public will be able to access the meeting via telephone or videoconference (e.g., web link); and,
- Boards must record meeting, and later transcribe the recordings, with the transcripts to be available through the N.Y. Freedom of Information Law.
As a best practice, the SUNY Charter Schools Institute recommends using a school site as a videoconference location for those parents and members of the public who do not have computer or internet access.
For information regarding the new Executive Law section 103-a, the N.Y.S. Committee on Open Government has produced a FAQ.
The Institute will be providing further information on the statutory changes. Please direct any questions to the Institute’s Legal Team.