The Governor has announced his intention not to renew the COVID-19 disaster declaration beyond April, letting it expire on May 11, 2023. This means that as of May 1, 2023, public bodies will no longer be able to conduct remote meetings under the current “public health” provision contained in section 7(e) of the Open Meetings Act.
There have been a few bills proposed in the Illinois General Assembly that would expand the “public health” provision of the OMA to authorize the “chief elected or appointed official” of the public body to make a determination that an in-person meeting would pose a risk to the health or safety of the members of the public body or the public rather than requiring that a state-issued disaster declaration be in place. See Senate Bill 103 and House Bill 1408. You may recall that similar legislation was introduced last session but was never adopted. We will keep our readers posted on the bills as they move through this session.
Of course, individual members of public bodies can still attend meetings electronically under the provisions of 7(a)-(d) of the OMA, so long as the public body has adopted a policy authorizing remote attendance and the member meets the statutory eligibility requirements for attending the meeting electronically.