The comment period on proposed changes to the state’s Open Meeting Law closed Thursday at 5 p.m., after a public hearing that afternoon hosted by the Division of Open Government.
In late July, Attorney General Maura Healey proposed a handful of changes to the law that dictates how public boards of committees should behave. Here’s a breakdown of some of the changes, should they remain as currently proposed.
– If a board chooses to post meeting notices to the town’s website, and the websites crashes, the board has four hours to fix the problem during business hours. If that doesn’t happen, the meeting must be canceled and the notice re-posted for a new date.
– In an effort to reduce repeat violations, municipalities must give new public board or committee members each attorney general determination of the board’s violations over the previous three years.
– Complaints no longer need to be filed with the town clerk, and will be filed only with the chairman or chairwoman of a board or committee.
– Boards can now request mediation with a person who has filed five or more complaints within a year. Should the person refuse mediation, the attorney general can refuse to investigate the complaint.
– The previous requirement stating complaints must be filed within 90 days of the offense has been made more flexible. Residents now have the option to file within 90 days of reasonable discovery of the violation.
– The attorney general no longer needs to wait for a public hearing before nullifying an action taken by a board. The board can still appeal the decision.
– Reasons accepted for remote participation have been…
click here to read more.