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Under Connecticut’s Freedom of Information law, public bodies, including school boards, must make their meetings, other than executive sessions, open to the public. Last year, the Connecticut Legislature passed a law allowing public bodies, until April 30, 2022, to hold public meetings that are accessible to the public via electronic equipment, or via electronic equipment in conjunction with an in-person meeting. (“hybrid” meetings). ).
Last Thursday, Governor Lamont signed into law House Bill 5269, as amended by House Schedule A. The new law removes the April 30, 2022 expiry date and allows public bodies to continue to hold remote and hybrid meetings, as long as they comply with the requirements. under applicable law. The bill also explicitly provides that regional school districts can hold remote or hybrid public meetings to present a budget proposal in the same manner as other public bodies.
School boards are reminded to ensure they meet all requirements for holding remote or hybrid meetings, including, but not limited to, the following:
- At least 48 hours before the board holds a regular meeting by means of electronic equipment, the board shall provide direct notice in writing or by electronic transmission to each member of the board and post a notice that the board has the intention to hold the meeting solely or partly by means of electronic equipment, 1° in the administrative premises of the commission; (2) at the city clerk’s office, and (3) on the council’s website, if available.
- At least 24 hours before such a meeting, the board must post the agenda for the meeting in the same manner as the notice of meeting described above. The notice and agenda shall include instructions for the public to attend and provide comments or otherwise participate in the meeting by means of electronic equipment or in person, as applicable and permitted by law.
- If the board meeting is entirely remote, the board must provide members of the public, upon written request, with a physical location and any electronic equipment necessary to attend the meeting remotely in real time, and the same opportunities to provide feedback. or testimonials and otherwise participate in the meeting that individuals would be afforded if the meeting was held in person, subject to certain exceptions.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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