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.


The complete guidance and list of changes is available on the RIAG web site here.


Elected leaders are speaking out after a mass shooting at a church in Orange County, California. California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted that his office is actively monitoring the situation and "no one should have to fear going to their place of worship." The area's U.S. House Representative, Democrat Katie Porter, also tweeted that "this should not be our new normal." One person was killed and at least five injured after the shooting Sunday afternoon at the Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods.       President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden head to Buffalo, New York Tuesday. A statement says they will join with those in the community and grieve the lives lost in a mass shooting at a grocery store there Saturday. Ten people, most of them Black, were killed in what the city's police commissioner has called a "vicious hate crime."       The head of NATO says Ukraine can win the war against Russia. Secretary General Jens [[ yens ]] Stoltenberg told NATO members Sunday that Russia's invasion, launched in February, is not going as planned. He noted the Russians had failed to take Kyiv and now they're pulling back from Ukraine's second-largest city.       Airlines are racing to hire and train new pilots as the U.S. is facing a pilot shortage. Major U.S. airlines are looking to hire more than 12-thousand pilots just this year, double the previous record for hiring in a single year. The shortage comes as hiring was temporarily stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic and airlines handed out early retirement to pilots to cut back on costs.        The Celtics and Mavericks are moving on to the NBA conference finals. Boston defeated the Bucks 109-81 in Game Seven in Boston. The Celtics will face the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Out west, the Mavericks blasted the Suns 123-90 in Game Seven in Phoenix. Dallas will face the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.       A Florida man who wanted President Biden arrested is facing charges himself. Palm Harbor's Jacob Philbeck was arrested last week after he allegedly placed two 911 calls in which he said Biden needed to be put in prison. The sheriff's office says the 29-year-old was warned not to use 911 for non-emergencies, but he called again and made the same request.