The OMA’s new remote meeting provisions only apply when the Governor or the IDPH Director have issued a disaster declaration because of a disaster, and all or part of a public body’s jurisdiction is covered in the disaster area. The head of the public body must determine that an in-person meeting is not practical or prudent because of a disaster. The OMA requires public meetings to be “convenient and open” for members of the public, although that can be satisfied through remote attendance means. Once the required conditions exist to hold a remote meeting during a disaster, the public body must follow further requirements for conducting the meeting, which are discussed below.
- All members of a public body participating in the meeting, regardless of their physical location, must be verified and able to hear other participants, discussions and testimony.
- All votes must be conducted by a roll call, and each member’s vote on each issue must be identified and recorded.
- At least one member of the public body or the chief legal counsel or chief administrative officer must be physically present at the regular meeting location unless physical presence is “unfeasible due to the disaster”.
- Each member of the public body who participates in a remote meeting held under these disaster requirements is considered present at the meeting for purposes of determining a quorum and participating in all proceedings.