Legislative Update! Bill extending remote meeting participation advanced to Governor’s desk.

Earlier this evening, at the urging of MMLA, in partnership with MMA and other stakeholders, the House and Senate agreed to simply extend remote meeting participation options under current COVID-related relief measures until March 31, 2023, which is set to expire tomorrow.  I am pleased to report that this extension bill was enacted by both branches a short time ago and emergency preambles were added thereby giving immediate effect upon the Governor’s signature, which may occur as early as tomorrow.

–See following link:  www.malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2985 for legislative history and bill text.–

As previously reported, the Senate had passed an extension of such local option relief until December 15, 2023, as contained in outside sections of its FY23 state budget plan and also as part of a separate stand-alone bill.  Last week, the Senate stand-alone bill was amended by the House to extend such relief until March 31, 2023, and thereafter require remote access to all meetings of public bodies if public participation is required or permitted at such meeting, among other permanent changes.  The MMLA strongly advocated against the permanent changes introduced by the House, and urged legislative leadership to work collaboratively with all groups to develop a permanent solution during any extension period.  MMLA is also grateful to the State Auditor who raised similar concerns relative to the mandated remote participation language.

—Please refer to the MMLA website (www.massmunilaw.org) for copies of recent letters that MMLA transmitted to legislative leadership during these recent deliberations.—

We will be sure to update all of you with further developments as they occur.

In the meantime, I wish to express kudos to the entire MMLA Team for its concerted efforts!

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