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OMA Changes Signed into Law

  • Date Posted
    June 16, 2020
  • Category
    COVID-19
 
Governor JB Pritzker has signed Senate Bill 2135 into law. The legislation codifies previous executive orders that allow public bodies to meet remotely without the physical presence of a quorum when the governor or the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health has issued a disaster declaration related to public health concerns.
 
Boards must meet a number of specific conditions to ensure a remote meeting without the physical presence of a quorum is needed, including that the members of the public body and members of the public can access and hear the meeting. 
 
The new law allows for both open and closed meetings without the physical presence of a quorum utilizing either audio or video conferencing. All votes must be conducted by roll call and, unless the meeting is a bona fide emergency, a 48-hour notice must be given to members of the board, posted on the website of the public body, and given to appropriate news media. Verbatim audio or video recordings of the open meeting must be kept and made available to the public and reviewed for destruction as defined under existing Open Meetings Act requirements for closed meetings. The requirements for closed meeting verbatim recordings remain the same.
 
IASB is updating relevant sample materials through its Policy Reference Education Subscription Service (PRESS) to reflect the new requirements. These changes will be available to PRESS subscribers in PRESS Issue 104 at the end of June.
 
It is important to note that this law now controls over previous executive orders issued relaxing the requirement for the board to have a physical presence of a quorum at its location to meet remotely. It is important, too, for boards to remember that the Executive Order 2020-39 issued on May 29 still currently applies to board work and that in-person attendance of more than 10 people at the board’s regular meeting location is not feasible. Consult your board’s legal counsel for help in meeting remotely with or without the physical presence of a quorum at your meeting location.