AG Neronha issues guidance on OMA requirements
following the expiration of Executive Order 21-72
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Office of the Attorney General has received several inquiries related to the expected expiration of Executive Order 21-72, which provides for virtual and hybrid meetings of public bodies during the COVID-19 state of emergency. That Executive Order is set to expire at the end of the day today, and the Governor has indicated that it will not be renewed.
After the Executive Order expires, meetings of public bodies must conform to the requirements of the Open Meetings Act (OMA). However, many public bodies and individuals have questions related to returning to in-person meetings, particularly considering the widespread adoption of technologies and platforms that facilitate virtual access and participation.
In anticipation of the expiration of the Executive Order, we have developed guidance to provide clarity on the requirements of the OMA, for both members of public bodies and members of the public.
The guidance clarifies that:
- Members of the Public Body Must Attend Meetings In Person
- Members of the Public Must Be Permitted In Person to Attend Open Meetings
- Public Bodies May Live stream Their Meetings to the Public
- Public Bodies May Permit Members of the Public to Participate Remotely in Open