AG Neronha issues guidance on OMA requirements
following today’s Executive Order 22-01
PROVIDENCE, RI – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha provided guidance today for Rhode Islanders who might have questions concerning Executive Order 22-01, which modifies certain provisions of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) as part of the State’s emergency response to COVID-19. This Executive Order, issued earlier today by Governor Daniel J. McKee, is in place until February 4, 2022, unless renewed, modified, or terminated by subsequent executive order.
Like the prior Executive Order pertaining to the OMA that expired on July 23, 2021, Executive Order 22-01 permits meetings to be held virtually for any purpose and makes clear that public bodies must provide remote access to their meetings, even if they are able to convene in person.
What has changed?
· Public bodies may now conduct meetings by telephone or audio or video conferencing, provided that the public body ensures public access to the meeting through adequate, alternative means (such as telephone or video conferencing).
· Any adequate alternative means of public access must be provided for free.
· Adequate alternative means for public access must be provided even if the members of the public body are able to convene in person.