Virtual meeting bill passed

Local political subdivisions have greater flexibility to meet virtually under a bill passed April 15.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist19' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Michael Flood'>Sen. Michael Flood</a>
Sen. Michael Flood

LB83, introduced by Norfolk Sen. Michael Flood, allows authorized political subdivisions to hold meetings virtually during a declared emergency. The bill defines virtual conferencing as a meeting conducted electronically or by phone.

Under the bill, political subdivisions subject to the state’s Open Meetings Act and currently allowed to conduct one half of their annual meetings by video conferencing and teleconferencing can hold virtual meetings and discuss regular business during a governor-declared emergency.

Current requirements regarding advanced public notice and at least one physical site available for public participation still will apply. An official participating in such a virtual meeting may do so from any location.

LB83 also reaffirms the validity of any actions taken by a public body between March 17, 2020, and April 30, 2021, in reliance on an executive order from the governor that waived the open meeting requirements during the pandemic.

Senators passed the bill on a 43-0 vote and it took effect immediately.

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