NY Open Conferences Regulation Amended Concerning Use of Video Conferencing

Please see the beneath from NYCOM. Out there right here: https://www.nycom.org/photographs/Open_Meetings_Law_2022_Amendments_-_New_Videoconference_Procedures.pdf

Overview
As a part of the 2022 Enacted State Funds,1 the NY Legislature amended the NYS Open Conferences Regulation to supply when and the way public our bodies could conduct conferences through videoconferencing expertise. Accordingly, the earlier videoconference authorization, which was enacted in 2000, has been repealed and changed with a brand new, considerably totally different videoconference provision. As well as, from April 9, 2022 by means of June 8, 2022, public our bodies could proceed to conduct conferences following the distant assembly process that was licensed pursuant to Government Order 202.1 and Chapter 1 of the Legal guidelines of 2022 through the pandemic.

The NYS Open Conferences Regulation
The Open Conferences Regulation (OML), Article 7 of the Public Officers Regulation (§§ 100‐111), outlines fundamental necessities for conferences carried out by public our bodies.

Public Officers Regulation 102(1) defines a “assembly” as “the official convening of a public physique for the aim of conducting public enterprise.” Any time a quorum of a public physique gathers for the aim of discussing public enterprise, the assembly should be open to the general public, whether or not or not the physique intends to take motion or vote on a selected problem.2 Consequently, conferences embrace “workshops, ” “work classes,” and “agenda classes.”3 Likelihood conferences or social gatherings should not lined by the OML since these should not official conferences. Nevertheless, public officers could not focus on public enterprise at likelihood conferences or social gatherings.4
Primary Necessities of the Open Conferences Regulation

There are 4 fundamental necessities of the New York State Open Conferences Regulation:

  • All conferences should be seen;
  • The general public should be allowed to attend and observe the conferences in individual besides that portion of a
    assembly which is in govt session;
  • Proposed native legal guidelines, guidelines, rules, resolutions, and insurance policies, and any report which is topic to
    disclosure beneath FOIL which is scheduled to be mentioned on the assembly should be made accessible to the
    public to the extent practicable; and
  • The general public physique should make minutes of the assembly accessible inside two weeks of the assembly and
    inside one week of the manager session.
    For extra data on the OML’s particular necessities, see the NYCOM Handbook for Village Officers,
    Chapter 6, and the NYCOM Handbook for Metropolis Officers, Chapter 4, in addition to the NYS Committee on Open
    Authorities web site at https://opengovernment.ny.gov.
    The OML’s New Videoconferencing Process
    As of April 9, 2022, the earlier videoconferencing provisions present in Public Officers Regulation 103(c) are eliminated, and public our bodies wishing to conduct conferences through videoconferencing should adjust to the brand new necessities of Public Officers Regulation 103‐a.
    Particularly, Public Officers Regulation 103‐a(2) authorizes public our bodies to conduct conferences utilizing videoconference expertise as long as a quorum of the general public physique is bodily current at a number of of the areas the place the general public can even attend in individual. This requirement will be glad, for instance, if three members of a 5‐member public physique are bodily current within the municipal corridor and the general public is allowed to attend at that location or if three members of a 5‐member public physique are collaborating through videoconferencing however from three
    totally different areas and the general public is allowed to by bodily current at every of these areas.
    Moreover, the legislation requires public our bodies adjust to the next so as to conduct any assembly through videoconference: The native authorities should undertake a neighborhood legislation or a person public physique should undertake a decision
    authorizing using videoconferencing
    a. For itself and its committees or subcommittees or
    b. Specifying that every committee or subcommittee could make its personal dedication. The general public physique should (a) undertake written procedures governing member and public attendance constant
    with Public Officers Regulation 103‐a and (b) conspicuously put up these written procedures on the general public
    physique’s web site. Members of the general public physique should be bodily current at one of many assembly areas at which the
    public can attend in individual except the member is unable to be bodily current because of extraordinary
    circumstances, as set forth within the public physique’s adopted assembly procedures, which embrace incapacity,
    sickness, caregiving obligations, or some other vital or sudden issue or occasion which
    contains the member’s bodily attendance at such a gathering. Members of a public physique would not have a
    proper to attend conferences remotely however could take part remotely through videoconferencing solely on the
    discretion of the general public physique.
  • Besides within the case of govt classes carried out pursuant to Public Officers Regulation 105, the general public
    physique should make sure that members of the general public physique will be heard, seen, and recognized whereas the assembly
    is being carried out, together with however not restricted to any motions, proposals, resolutions, and some other
    matter formally mentioned or voted upon.
  • The minutes of conferences involving videoconferencing should embrace which, if any, members take part
    remotely and should be made accessible to the general public pursuant to Public Officers Regulation 106.
  • The general public discover for the assembly should (i) inform the general public (a) that videoconferencing will probably be used, (b)
    the place they will view and/or take part in such assembly, and (c) the place required paperwork and data
    will probably be posted or accessible, and (ii) establish the bodily location(s) the place members of the general public physique
    will probably be collaborating within the assembly and the place the general public can attend the assembly in individual.
  • The general public physique should report every assembly that makes use of videoconferencing and such recordings should be
    posted or linked to on the general public physique’s web site inside 5 enterprise days of the assembly. The
    recordings should stay accessible for at least 5 years thereafter, and recordings should be
    transcribed upon request.
  • The general public physique should present the chance for members of the general public to view the assembly through video.
    Moreover, at conferences the place public remark or participation is permitted, members of the general public
    should have the ability to take part within the proceedings through videoconferencing in actual time. The general public physique should
    make sure that the videoconferencing gives the identical alternatives for public participation or testimony
    as in‐individual participation or testimony.
  • A neighborhood public physique electing to make the most of videoconferencing to conduct its conferences should keep an
    official web site.
    If a public physique broadcasts its conferences or conducts its conferences through videoconference, it should use expertise that allows members of the general public with disabilities to entry the video in a constant method with the 1990 People with Disabilities Act (ADA). Data on how conferences will be made accessible to with disabilities will be discovered on-line at http://www.section508.gov/create/accessible‐conferences/. As well as, native officers ought to seek the advice of with their municipal lawyer to make sure compliance with this requirement.
    In abstract, the Open Assembly Regulation’s new videoconference provisions enable a member of a public physique to take part in a gathering of a public physique with out permitting members of the general public to be bodily current on the location from which they’re collaborating within the assembly if (a ) extraordinary circumstances exists comparable to incapacity, sickness, caregiving obligations, or some other vital or sudden issue or occasion which incorporates the member’s bodily attendance at such assembly, and (b) a minimum of a quorum of the general public physique are collaborating within the assembly from a location or areas at which members of the general public could bodily attend in individual. Notice that the general public discover for the assembly should inform the general public that videoconferencing will probably be used on the assembly. As well as, Public Officers Regulation 103‐a continues to ban conferences from being carried out utilizing solely teleconferencing applied sciences.
    Emergency Conferences
    Half WW of Chapter 56 of the Legal guidelines of 2022 additionally creates an emergency exception to the in individual requirement related to videoconferencing conferences. Particularly, if (1) the Governor has declared a state of emergency or the native chief govt has declared a neighborhood state of emergency pursuant to NYS Government Regulation 24 and (2) the general public physique determines that the circumstances necessitating the emergency declaration would have an effect on or impair the power of the general public physique to carry an in individual assembly, then the general public physique isn’t required to carry an in individual assembly.5
    Though not required by Public Officers Regulation 103‐a, NYCOM recommends that, when a public physique invokes this emergency exception and takes motion at a gathering with out permitting members of the
    public to be current, at its subsequent assembly the place the general public is allowed to attend, the general public physique ought to it
    acknowledge the earlier assembly and summarize any motion taken thereat. Furthermore, public our bodies should nonetheless produce minutes of such emergency conferences pursuant to the necessities of the Open Conferences Regulation. Lastly, native governments are strongly inspired to seek the advice of with their municipal lawyer earlier than holding an emergency assembly the place the general public isn’t allowed to attend in individual.
    Expiration of Videoconferencing and Emergency Conferences Provisions
    The videoconference and emergency assembly provisions of Half WW of Chapter 56 of the Legal guidelines of 2022, as described above, took impact on April 9, 2022, and can expire and be deemed repealed July 1, 2024.
    Non permanent Distant Assembly Authorization
    Lastly, Half WW authorizes public our bodies to proceed to conduct conferences following the procedures set forth in Chapter 1 of the Legal guidelines of 2022 by means of June 8, 2022. Particularly, any public physique could meet and take motion remotely by convention name or related service and with out allowing public‐in‐individual entry to the assembly, offered that the general public has the power to view or take heed to such proceedings and that such conferences are recorded and later transcribed.
    This language mirrors the language present in Governor Cuomo’s Government Order 202.1, which suspended the in-person requirement of the NYS Open Conferences Regulation for many of the State’s declared COVID state of emergency.
    The legislation doesn’t point out by when the recordings should be transcribed. Native officers are inspired to have the conferences transcribed inside an affordable time period. Furthermore, public our bodies should nonetheless put together assembly minutes inside two weeks of the assembly, and inside one week of an govt session. The transcription requirement doesn’t obviate the duty to arrange minutes
    in accordance with the necessities of the Open Conferences Regulation.
    The discover for distant conferences carried out should clearly state the specifics of the assembly:
  • The title of the general public physique assembly;
  • The date and time of the assembly;
  • Whether or not the assembly is being carried out in accordance with Half WW of Chapter 56 of the Legal guidelines of 2022;
  • The tactic that the general public physique will probably be utilizing to conduct the assembly (eg, videoconferencing or
    teleconference);
  • How the general public can view or take heed to the assembly;
  • If a gathering will probably be streamed stay over the web, the general public discover for the assembly shall inform the
    public of the web deal with of the web site streaming such assembly; and
  • If the assembly can have a public remark interval or if a public listening to is being carried out, the seen
    ought to point out that people could submit feedback through e mail or common mail, whether or not such written
    feedback should be obtained previous to the graduation of the assembly or whether or not the assembly/public
    listening to will probably be held open for a particular variety of days for the receipt of such written feedback, and that
    the written feedback will probably be made a part of the report.
    1 Half WW of Chapter 56 of the Legal guidelines of 2022
  • 2 Orange Co. Publications v. Metropolis of Newburgh, 60 AD2d 409 (2nd Dep’t. 1978), aff’d. 45 NY2d 947.
  • 3 NY St. comm. Open Gov’t. OML‐AO‐4506.
  • 4 Kissel v. D’Amato, 97 Misc.2nd 675 (Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 1979), mod on different grounds, 72 AD2d 790 (2nd Dep’t. 1979).
  • 5 Public Officers Regulation 103

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