On March 31st, the Remote Meeting Rule that was put into effect during COVID-19 is set to expire. This rule allows remote access and participation to municipal buildings.
Both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives passed bills that would extend the remote meeting rules. The bill passed by the Senate will extend remote participation to Dec. 15, 2023, and the House bill includes a provision to mandate remote access for all government meetings starting April 1, 2023.
If both the Senate and House can agree on these bills, cities, and towns will be required to continue or start providing virtual access to municipal meetings. This bill is set to cross Governor Healy’s desk, and your voice in NEEDED to encourage enactment.
Please, contact our local legislators and ask for their support. You can email the following message:
My name is _______ and I am a resident of ____________ (city/town). I am a member of the public who regularly attends town meetings and I am writing to ask that you support the extension of the open meeting law, that would allow for meetings to continue virtually, for the following reasons:
- virtual meetings allow greater participation—both by the public, by stakeholders and even by members of the public body
- virtual meetings are more convenient—we do not have to jockey for an open and appropriate space the way we do for in-person meetings;
- virtual meetings do not require hours of traffic or driving
- virtual meetings do not require paid parking or struggle for parking
- virtual meetings allow for more frequent meetings at smaller time frames
- virtual meetings do not require members of the public to take an entire day off from work to participate
- and open meetings are more efficient.
Please feel free to edit as you feel appropriate.
To find your local legislator(s): https://malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator