Emergency Changes to Open Meetings Law in Response to COVID-19

This content is adapted from a communication sent by NYSEDC Executive Director, Ryan Silva

The Governor in Executive Order No. 202.1 (click here for full version) has relaxed the Open Meetings Law to allow meetings of public bodies to be held remotely by conference call or similar services.

Suspension of law allowing the attendance of meetings telephonically or other similar service:

Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, to the extent necessary to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed;”

SAMPLE Language for public meeting postings:

Because of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency and State and Federal bans on large meetings or gatherings and pursuant to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 220.1 issued on March 12, 2020 suspending the Open Meetings Law, the [Name of Board] (the “Agency”) [Board] [Committee] Meeting scheduled for ______ __, 2020 will be held electronically via [conference call][webinar] instead of a public meeting open for the public to attend in person. Members of the public may [listen to] or [view] the [Board] [Committee] meeting by [insert instructions to dial into the conference call or log into the webinar]. Minutes of the [Board] [Committee] Meeting will transcribed and posted on the [Agency’s] website.

[Attach Agenda here.]

Thank you to the NYS Economic Development Council for sharing this information.